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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.”

Source: Join Together Staff

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