The Washington Post

D.C., Md. show progress in battling substance abuse, study finds

(Radius Images / Alamy)

Overall, the study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration presents a mixed picture of alcohol and drug abuse in our region: Virginia had a higher rate than the national average for states, while Maryland had a lower rate. Individual city data was not available, so D.C.’s rate could not be compared to other municipalities.

In 2008 and 2009, Virginia and Maryland had rates of alcohol or illicit drug abuse of 9.4 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, for people over the age of 12, according to the report. The District’s rate was 11.3 percent. The national average for states was 8.9 percent.

Both Maryland and the District saw declines in addiction rates over a seven-year period covered in the report, while Virginia’s rate edged upward. Nationwide, there was a decrease in dependence on drug and alcohol abuse from 2002 and 2003 to 2008 and 2009, the report found.

There were bright spots and troubling trends in the local and national data. Both Maryland and Virginia saw decreases in cocaine use, while fewer people in many states perceived that cigarette smoking can be risky.

"No state is free from the unique impact of mental and substance use disorders," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "Data like these give states the information they can use to target their prevention and treatment activities for the greatest benefit to their residents."

The data was drawn from more than 137,000 interviews with people around the country. People were asked about their use of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs.


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