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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Almost One Quarter of Americans Binge Drink

Alcohol use is deeply entrenched in our American way of life, affecting more lives every year than any other single drug. Americans are always looking for an excuse to drink and it is not difficult for people to justify having a few drinks no matter the day in the week. There is no other substance that is so readily available for consumption or purchased as cheaply as alcohol. This is why almost one-quarter of Americans age 12 or older admit to taking part in binge drinking in the previous month, according to a government survey. The survey defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks on one occasion.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found binge drinking rate differences from state to state:
  • 14.1 percent in Utah
  • 29.8 percent in North Dakota

More people took part in binge drinking in the last month than those who used illegal drugs at 8.4 percent. The survey was conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and included interviews with more than 137,000 people between 2008 and 2009.

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

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