More than one-fifth of all Americans are binge drinkers, regularly consuming more than five alcoholic beverages a day, according to the results of a new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released Thursday.
Twenty-three percent of the population reported participating in binge drinking, according to Daniel Bates of the Daily Mail. Furthermore, approximately 8-percent of underage drinkers surveyed said that they would get drunk on a weekly basis, despite being prohibited by law from consuming wine, beer, and hard liquor, Bates reported.
“Experts have repeatedly warned about the dangers that binge drinking can have, especially on teenagers,” the Daily Mail reporter noted. “Research out this week showed binge drinking can harm teens’ ability to perceive their environment at a time when their brains are still developing.”
In addition, Jonathan Shorman of USA Today, points out that 8.4-percent of those who participated in the SAMHSA study reported using an illicit drug within the past month. Shorman also notes that 6.4-percent said that they had smoked marijuana within the past month, and more than one in ten had used pot within the past year’s time.
According to a SAMHSA press release, “The report”¦ provides valuable insight to state public health authorities and service providers on the scope and nature of behavioral health issues affecting their states. The report is part of SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality–an effort to provide the best available information to everyone involved in the behavioral health field.”
The study found that the highest percentage of binge drinking, by state, was in North Dakota, where nearly 30-percent of those over the age of 12 reported consuming a minimum of five qualifying alcoholic drinks, according to USA Today. Utah, at 14.1-percent, was the lowest.
Bates reports that illegal drug usage was highest in Alaska (13.5-percent) and lowest in Iowa (5.29-percent). However, in their press release, SAMHSA pointed out that “current illicit drug use dropped among adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 17 states between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009,” and that there were “no increases in current illicit drug use occurred in any state in this age group over this time period.”
“The report is based on the combined 2008 and 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Using data drawn from interviews with 137,436 persons from throughout the country the report 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,” the organization said.
The complete report is available through SAMHSA’s official website.
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