Who’s Abusing Which Substances?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Drug abuse and mental illness are challenges officials face everywhere in the country, but for some states certain problems are more acute than others. Utah, for example, leads the United States in the rate of “serious psychological distress,” but also has the lowest rates of binge drinking and use of tobacco and marijuana. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has released a wealth of statistics gathered from 2006-2007 that show the ways in which substance abuse and struggles with depression vary widely from one part of the country to another. For instance, in the category covering Americans 12 years and older:

Nationally, 10.2% of Americans smoked marijuana in 2007, but Rhode Island (16.1%) and Vermont 15.7%) had twice the percentage of marijuana users than Utah (7.2%);
Rhode Island also had more cocaine users (4.1%), along with the District of Columbia (5.1%), than anywhere else, while Mississippi had the lowest cocaine rate (1.6%);
North Dakota has the highest number of binge drinkers (32.0%), and Utah the lowest (15.6%);
Tobacco use was most widespread in West Virginia (37.8%) and Kentucky (37.1%), and least common in Utah (20.0%) and California (22.7%);
Arkansas is the leader when it comes to abuse of pain relievers (6.3%), while South Dakota (3.9%) has the least amount of trouble in this area (3.9%);
Nationally, 7.3% of Americans had at least one depressive episode in the year, but in Tennessee the rate was 9.8%, while in Hawaii it was only 5.0%
Hawaii also had the lowest rate of citizens experiencing “serious psychological distress” (8.8%), while Utah led this unfortunate category at 14.0%.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Statistics (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration)


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