Vice Squad
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Illicit Drug Use, State by State

Today's SAMHSA offering is the "2002 State Estimates of Substance Use." Of the fifty US states plus the District of Columbia, where is the prevalence of past-month use of illicit substances by people 12 and older the lowest, you ask? I am pleased to report that my neighbors in the Hawkeye State of Iowa are the least likely to consume anything illicit. Or at least to report consuming anything illicit, as the estimates are based on face-to-face and computer-assisted interviews. But at any rate, the estimate for Iowa is that 6.08 percent of those 12-and-older were not entirely pure in the previous month. Utah and South Carolina are second and third in the most-likely-to-obey-the-sumptuary-laws sweepstakes.

What? You want to know in which states the prevalence of illicit substance use is highest? For shame, I will not even let the names of those wicked places pass my lips. But as there are no lips in the blogosphere, the second-runner up is....New Hampshire, with a past-month prevalence of 11.05 (just beating out neighboring Vermont.) The first runner up -- and should the winner be unable to perform her duties, the first runner-up will assume the winner's responsibilities -- is Alaska, with a prevalence of 12.15 percent. And the winner is....oh, it's quite a surprise, it's our nation's capital, Washington, DC, with an estimated prevalence of 12.43. (Now wait a minute, isn't SAMHSA located just outside of DC? You don't think that there was some home-team umpiring here, do you?)

Here's the table with the state-by-state breakdown. And folks, I hope it goes without saying that I know that many people ruin their lives, and the lives of those near them, through illicit drug use (and also through licit drug use). Please don't let my light-hearted tone in this post be taken as evidence that I make light of their tragedies.


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