A new report is out that provides a state-by-state comparison of a wide range of behavioral health issues. Every state has to deal with some significant challenges with mental illness and substance abuse.  For example, among people 12 and older, Alaska’s current illicit drug use rate more than double that in Iowa (13% versus 5%), yet Iowa was among the top 10 states when it came to binge drinking (28%).

 The report was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and provides valuable insight to state public health authorities and service providers on the scope and type of behavioral health issues affecting their states. The report uses the combined 2008 and 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH ), which is drawn from interviews with more than 100,000 persons from around the country, and provides a state-by-state breakdown along 25 different measures of substance abuse and mental health problems, including illicit drug use, binge drinking, alcohol and illicit drug dependence, tobacco use, serious mental illness, and major depressive episode. Other notable findings include:

  • Fewer people in many states perceived that cigarette use can be risky. Between the combined years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 the perception of great risk from smoking one or more pack of cigarettes a day decreased in 14 states among those aged 12 to 17; in 31 states among those aged 18 to 25 and in 9 states among those 26 and older.
  • Current illicit drug use dropped among adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 17 states between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009; no increases in current illicit drug use occurred in any state in this age group over this time period.
  • While the District of Columbia had the nation’s highest rate of past year alcohol dependence or abuse for those 26 or older (8.1%), it had the lowest rate among persons aged 12 to 17 (3.0%).
  • Utah had the lowest rate of current marijuana use (3.6%) while Alaska had the highest rate (11.5%).
  • Between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 11 states showed declines in past year cocaine use among persons aged 12 or older (in alphabetical order — Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia).
  • Rhode Island had the nation’s highest rate of adults aged 18 or older experiencing serious mental illness in the past year (7.2%), while Hawaii and South Dakota shared the lowest rate (3.5%)