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Research Review

Types, Levels of Substance Use and Mental Illness Differ by State

A new report providing state-by-state analyses of substance abuse and mental illness patterns reveals that despite wide variations among the states in the types and levels of behavioral health problems they experience—every state suffers from these problems. For example, among those aged 12 and older, Iowa had less than one third the current illicit drug use rate of Rhode Island (4.1% vs. 13.3%)—yet Iowa’s population aged 12 and older was among the group of states with the nation’s highest levels of people participating in binge drinking in the past month (27.2%).

Among the report’s other notable findings:

· Cigarette use by adolescents has decreased in 35 states since 2002; no increases in cigarette smoking were observed in any state during this period.

· Minnesota had the nation’s highest rate of past year dependence on, or abuse of, alcohol among those aged 12 or older (10%), while Kentucky had the lowest (5.7%).

· Nine of the 10 states having the highest levels of past month illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older also had the highest levels of past month marijuana use (in alphabetical order: Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington).

· Thirteen states showed significant declines in past year cocaine use among persons aged 12 or older from 2006 to 2007 (in alphabetical order: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming).

· Wyoming had the nation’s highest rate of adolescents aged 12 to 17 experiencing a major depressive episode in the past year (10%) while Maryland had the lowest (7%).

— Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration