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2000 State Estimates of Substance Use & Mental Health

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3. Alcohol Use

A number of measures of alcohol use are available from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). This chapter discusses past month alcohol use, past month "binge" alcohol use, and the perceived risk of "binge" alcohol use. "Binge" alcohol use is consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance. Nationally in the year 2000, almost half of Americans aged 12 or older reported having had a drink in the past month (46.6 percent), and about a fifth (20.6 percent) participated in "binge" drinking in the past 30 days (Office of Applied Studies [OAS], 2001b). Moreover, among youths, 16.4 percent reported using alcohol in the past month, and 10.4 percent reported past month "binge" alcohol use.

3.1 Alcohol

At the State level, the model-based estimate of the prevalence rate was very close to the estimate based only on the sample. The State differences ranged from minus 3.5 percent to a plus 1.9 percent for all persons aged 12 or older. Just looking at the absolute differences, the average difference across all States was only 1.0 percent.

The State model-based estimates based on 2 years' data from this report were highly correlated with the single-year 1999 State model-based estimates on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) website (OAS, 2002b). For example, eight States in the highest fifth for 2 years' use for persons aged 12 or older were also in the top fifth for 1999, but in a different order. The top State for 1999 and 2000 was Massachusetts (60.3 percent) (Figure 3.1; Table A.14). The States in the top fifth were primarily in the North, including five States in the Northeast, three in the Midwest, and two in the West regions. Most (nine) of the States in the lowest fifth were from the South. Utah had the lowest rate (28.1 percent) of past month alcohol use in the Nation.

Because the 26 years or older age group constituted such a large part (about 77 percent) of the total for persons aged 12 or older, these two age groups had similar rankings (Figures 3.1 and 3.4; Table A.14). Eight of the ten States were the same in the highest fifth for the two age groups, and all ten were the same in the fifth with the lowest prevalence rates. There was somewhat less correspondence between the State rankings for the 12 or older age group and the 12 to 17 age group (Figures 3.1 and 3.2; Table A.14). Among States with the highest prevalence rates for the 12 to 17 age group and for the 12 or older age group, there were eight States in common; however, only five were common to those age groups among States with the lowest rates of past month alcohol use. Six States were in the top fifth for all three age groups and for all persons aged 12 or older (Massachusetts, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Vermont, and North Dakota) (Figures 3.1 to 3.4; Table A.14).

3.2 "Binge" Alcohol

Past month "binge" use of alcohol at the State level showed a degree of similarity to past month alcohol use. Seven of the States that reported low levels of alcohol use also reported low levels of "binge" alcohol use: Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Alabama (Figures 3.1 and 3.5; Table s A.14 and A.16). However, among States in the group with the highest rates, only four States were the same: North Dakota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Montana. This could indicate some differences in risk factors between alcohol use and "binge" alcohol use resulting in less agreement among the States with the highest rates, but more agreement among these two measures with respect to protective factors that result in lower prevalence rates.

For "binge" use of alcohol among persons aged 12 or older, five of the States with the highest rates were from the Midwest region. In addition, seven of the States in the top group for the 12 or older population were also in the top group for the 12 to 17 age group (Figures 3.5 and 3.6; Table A.16).

3.3 Perceptions of Risk of "Binge" Alcohol Use

People's perceptions of the risk of "binge" drinking were closely related to their actual rates of "binge" drinking at the State level. Eight of the States with the highest rates of "binge" use of alcohol were also States with the lowest perceived risk of "binge" drinking for the population aged 12 or older (Figures 3.5 and 3.9; Table s A.16 and A.18). Seven of the States with the lowest perceived risk in the 12 to 17 age group were also in the lowest perceived risk group for the 12 or older population (Figures 3.9 and 3.10; Table A.18). Only one of the States (Utah) in the highest fifth of rates of perceived risk (aged 12 or older) was not a State from the South. The other States in the top fifth of perceptions of high risk of "binge" drinking were the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Figure 3.1 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Alcohol among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.1  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.2 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Alcohol among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.2  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.3 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Alcohol among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.3  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.4 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Alcohol among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.4  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.5 Percentages Reporting Past Month "Binge" Alcohol Use among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.5  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.6 Percentages Reporting Past Month "Binge" Alcohol Use among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.6  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.7 Percentages Reporting Past Month "Binge" Alcohol Use among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.7  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.8 Percentages Reporting Past Month "Binge" Alcohol Use among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.8  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.9 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Having Five or More Drinks of an Alcoholic Beverage Once or Twice a Week among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.9  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.10 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Having Five or More Drinks of an Alcoholic Beverage Once or Twice a Week among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.10  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.11 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Having Five or More Drinks of an Alcoholic Beverage Once or Twice a Week among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.11  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

Figure 3.12 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Having Five or More Drinks of an Alcoholic Beverage Once or Twice a Week among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 1999 and 2000

Figure 3.12  D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999 and 2000.

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This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.