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The News

More than half of Americans aged 12 and up drink alcohol, a quarter binge-drank in the past month, and one in 14 teens has used marijuana, a US government agency says in a report on substance abuse.

Around 52 percent of 137,436 Americans interviewed in 2008 and 2009 said they had drinks in the past month, the report released late last month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says.

Drinking was most prevalent among 18-25 year olds, with the northeastern state of New Hampshire leading the charge: three-quarters of young adults in the state said they’d used alcohol in the past month, the report says.

SAMHSA also found that almost a quarter (23.5 percent) of Americans binge-drank in the past month — defined as having four or more drinks for women or girls and five or more for men or boys.

In North Dakota, nearly one in three residents and more than a quarter of young people aged 12-20 binge-drank, the highest rates in the United States.

I guess there’s not much to do around there.

Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) of Americans aged 12 and older had smoked cigarettes in the past month, the study also found. At the same time, the number of Americans who perceived cigarette smoking as dangerous fell from just over 69 percent in 2007-2008 to 67.7 percent in 2008-09.