Thursday, April 02, 2015

West Virginia is the capital of mood-altering drugs; Rhode Island, Kentucky, Alabama not far behind

Residents in the South are more likely to use mood-altering drugs than people in other regions, says a study by Gallup that asked 450 adults in each state how often they use drugs and medications to affect their mood or relax them, Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. Southern states made up six of the top 10 states where respondents said they use drugs every day, led by West Virginia as the unofficial U.S. capital of mood-altering drugs.

Overall, 28.1 percent of West Virginia respondents said they use mood-altering drugs every day, says the study. Rhode Island was second at 25.9 percent, followed by Kentucky (24.5 percent), Alabama (24.2), Louisiana (22.9), South Carolina (22.8), Mississippi (22.3), Missouri (22.2), Indiana (22.1) and Oregon (21.9). Lowest rates were in Alaska, Wyoming, California, Illinois and North Dakota. Nationally, 18.9 percent said they take drugs almost every day, while 62.2 percent said they never do.

The way the question was worded allows for errors, Ingraham writes. The question asked about drugs and medications but didn't specify which ones and didn't mention alcohol or tobacco. That left interpretation of the question up to individual respondents. A recent National Survey of Drug Use and Health said that at least 71 percent of American adults drank in the past year, and 56 percent drank in the past month, which if true, could raise the rates in most states if respondents were to consider alcohol a mood-altering drug. (Read more) (To view this interactive Post map, click here)

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