Almost a quarter of all Americans have participated in binge drinking, and 8.4% have used an illicit drug in the past month, a new report says.


Data released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggest that North Dakota has the highest percentage of binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion), and 29.8% of those 12 and older reported binge drinking in the past month. Utah ranks lowest at 14.1%.

Among all Americans ages 12-17, the percentage in the past month was 8.8%.

The report also found that 6.4% of Americans had used marijuana in the past month and 10.8% in the past year.

The information comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which interviewed more than 137,000 people between 2008 and 2009. The report includes statistics on drinking and tobacco use, substance abuse and mental health.

Vermont had the highest reported underage drinking in the past month at 36.6% among those ages 12-20. Utah was lowest, with 14.2%. Nationwide, underage binge drinking decreased, from 19.2% in 2002-2003 to 17.7% in 2008-2009.

“We have been improving the stats around alcohol over a number of years, but we’re still not where we want to be,” says Peter Delany, director of the substance abuse administration’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

Teenage use of illegal drugs has decreased; 9.7% of teens reporting using illegal drugs in the past month in 2008-09, down from 11.4% in 2002-03.

Among those ages 12 and older, Alaska had the highest percentage, of illegal drug use 13.5%, Iowa the lowest, 5.3%.

Just under 5% of people reported non-medical use of pain relievers in the past year; about the same percentage as reported in 2002-2003 .

Though 28% of Americans reported using tobacco and 23.6% reporting smoking a cigarette in the past month, teen smoking decreased from 9.5% in 2007-08 to 9% in 2008-09.

But the percentage of teens who perceived great risk from smoking a pack or more of cigarettes a day dropped as well, from 69.3% in 2007-08 to 67.7% in 2008-09.

Among all ages, the perception of risk dropped from 73.7% to 72.3%.

“That’s a trend we should really be paying attention to,” Delany says. Perception of risk for a number of drugs has been decreasing over the past few years, he says.

The survey also found that dependence on alcohol or illicit drugs among all Americans was 8.9%.

Just under 5% of Americans over 18 reported having had a serious mental illness in the past year. Rhode Island had the highest percentage, 7.2%, and Hawaii and South Dakota reported the lowest, 3.5%.

Via USA Today