Vermont has the highest rate of underage drinking in the nation, a new federal report reveals. The state ranks second in youth marijuana use, the Burlington Free Press reports.
The report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a state-by-state analysis of a range of behavioral health issues. The report found 36.6 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds in Vermont said they drank alcohol in the previous month, the highest rate in the nation. Utah had the lowest underage drinking rate, 14.2 percent.
Vermont had the highest estimated rate of past-month use of marijuana for adults ages 18 to 25—30.6 percent. The state also had the highest rate of adults 18 to 25 who started using marijuana—11.9 percent. In contrast, Utah had the lowest rate, at 3.5 percent.
Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs for the Vermont Department of Health, told the newspaper there are several theories about why the state has a high rate of substance abuse among youth. These include the state’s location between Montreal and Boston, a permissive culture, and a lack of entertainment options during the region’s long, cold winters.
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