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Guess which District of Columbia has the nation's worst drug and alcohol abuse problems?

August 2, 2011 |  9:48 am

Capitol Reflecting Pool 7-31-11Here's a taste of federal irony:

Washington, D.C., the powerful, self-important place that is so ready these days to dictate health rules and regulations and tell Americans what they should eat less and more of, turns out to have the worst alcohol and drug abuse problems of any state or district.

And D.C. doesn't even have one senator!

A new study by the feds' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 21.3% of district adults aged 18 to 25 were dependent on or abusing alcohol or drugs in the past year, according to an article in the Washington Examiner.

The national average is 8.9%.

D.C.'s substances of choice are alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, the report said, according to the Examiner. 

The study was concluded before the recent weeks of contentious negotiations over raising the national debt limit to its second record high in two years. No pun intended.

"All ten states that had the highest rates of past month illicit drug use among persons age 12 or older," the study said, "were also the top 10 states for past month marijuana use -- Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont," the Examiner quoted the report as stating.

Among other findings:

Alaska had the highest rate of current marijuana use (11.5%), while Utah had the lowest (3.6%).

We may have reached a plateau in terms of Americans acknowledging the risks of cigarette smoking. No states reported an increase in the perception of risk.

South Dakota and Hawaii had the lowest rate of serious mental illness in the last year (3.5%).

Rhode Island had the nation's highest percentage of serious mental illness (7.2%) .

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Michael Reynolds / EPA (the Capitol reflected in the Reflecting Pool).

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