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Almost One-Quarter of Americans Report Binge Drinking in the Past Month


Almost one-quarter of Americans age 12 or older say they participated in binge drinking in the previous month, according to a government survey. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found binge drinking rates varied among states, ranging from 14.1 percent in Utah, to 29.8 percent in North Dakota. The survey defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks on one occasion.

The survey also found 8.4 percent of Americans have used an illegal drug in the previous month, USA Today reports. The survey, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that 9.7 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 had used illegal drugs in the past month. In the past year, 10.8 percent of Americans reported using marijuana, and 6.4 percent used the drug in the previous month.

The survey included interviews with more than 137,000 people between 2008 and 2009.

Alaska had the highest rate of illegal drug use (13.5 percent), while Iowa had the lowest rate (5.3 percent). Kentucky had the largest percentage of smokers (32 percent); Utah had the smallest (16.4 percent). Oklahoma had the highest rate of people using pain relievers for non-medical reasons in the past year (8.1 percent); Iowa and Nebraska had the lowest rate (3.6 percent).

“No state is free from the unique impact of mental and substance use disorders,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a news release. “Data like these give states the information they can use to target their prevention and treatment activities for the greatest benefit to their residents.”

2 Responses to this article

  1. John French / July 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Good grief — 137,000 people queried about their drug use! This allows SAMHSA to make reasonable estimates of use in small groups (eg, 12 to 17 year olds) or small geographic areas (eg, Rhode Island). Now, the question is what have they done with these fine-cut data other than spend one hell of a lot of money? One answer is that they can now target methamphetamine treatment to a few States. But then we must ask what is different about meth treatment compared to, say, cocaine treatment? The meth manuals could have been cut-and-pasted from the cocaine manuals and saved even MORE money.

  2. Avatar of Chris Yandall
    Chris Yandall / July 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I quit drinking a month ago and my health has never been better. put the AMA and big Pharma out of business! STOP DRINKING!

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