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Big Differences Among States in Drug Abuse, Mental Illness: Report

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Levels of substance abuse and mental illness vary widely among states, according to a U.S. government analysis.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration examined interviews with 135,672 people in 2006 and 2007. Among the findings:

* The highest rate of marijuana use among those 12 and older was in Vermont (2.5 percent) and the lowest was in Utah (1.6 percent).
* The highest rate of cocaine use among those 12 and older was in the District of Columbia (5.1 percent) and the lowest rate was in Mississippi (1.6 percent).

* The highest rate of underage drinking was in North Dakota (40 percent) and the lowest was in Utah (17.3 percent).
* The rate of people 18 and older who had experienced major depression in the past year was highest in Tennessee (9.8 percent) and lowest in Hawaii (5 percent).
* In Iowa, the rate of current illicit drug use among those 12 and older was 5.2 percent, compared to 12.5 percent in Rhode Island. However, Iowa had one of the highest rates of people reporting alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year (9.2 percent).

"This report shows that while every state faces its own unique pattern of public health problems, these problems confront every state," Dr. Eric Broderick, acting administrator of SAMHSA, said in a news release. "By highlighting the exact nature and scope of the problems in each state, we can help state public health authorities better determine the most effective ways of addressing them."

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