02:25am Friday 28 February 2020

New National Report Shows Differences in the Types and Levels of Substance Use and Mental Illness Problems Experienced by the States

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 percent vs. 13.3 percent) – 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 percent).

The report provides state public health authorities and service providers with useful information on a wide range of substance use and mental illness issues affecting their states. The report is part of SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality – an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues.

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 age 12 or older (10 percent), while Kentucky had the lowest (5.7 percent).

·        Nine of the ten states having the highest levels of past month illicit drug use among persons age 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 age 12 or older from 2006-2007 (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 (10.0 percent) while Maryland had the lowest (7.0 percent). 

“This report provides valuable insight into the exact nature and scope of the behavioral health problems affecting each state, and should help state public health authorities determine the most effective ways of addressing them,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These findings remind us that reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness is a national challenge and as we work to reform health care behavioral health services are part of the solution in every state.”

The report was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration based on the 2007 and 2008 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).  Using data drawn from interviews with 136,606 persons from throughout the country the report provides a state-by-state breakdown along 22 different measures of substance abuse and mental health problems including illicit drug use, binge drinking, alcohol and illicit drug dependence, tobacco use, and major depressive episode. The full report is available online at http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k8state/toc.cfm . Copies may also be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727).  For related publications and information, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/ .


SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

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