NH DHHS Releases Findings: State Ranks High for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Among Young Adults

Concord – Although New Hampshire is often ranked as one of the healthiest

states in the nation, according to national surveys, it ranks among the

poorest for rates of young adult alcohol abuse and other drug use. The New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Bureau of Drug and

Alcohol Services (BDAS) details the findings in the Issue Brief, “Young

Adult Substance Abuse in New Hampshire.” According to the brief, binge

drinking among the State’s 18 – 25 year olds is 9% above the national

average; also in that same age group, 27% report using marijuana on a

regular basis, placing New Hampshire fifth highest in the country for both

of these categories.

Binge drinking poses significant risk for car crashes, unintended sexual

activity, violence and other short-term problems. Regular binge drinking

and other drug use increase the progression of substance use disorders, are

related to lower academic achievement, and decrease productivity on the


“The vast majority of those who develop alcoholism and drug addiction began

drinking and using drugs in their teens, and the young adult years are

often where problems either diminish or get worse,” stated BDAS Director

Joe Harding. “It’s a critical age where we need to be talking more,

whether we’re a health clinic worker, a parent, an employer or a college

dorm supervisor.”

“Young Adult Substance Abuse in New Hampshire” Issue Brief provides

statistics on young adult substance abuse and information on resources

available to health clinics, colleges, businesses, and others that interact

with the state’s young adult population.

“The State is starting to understand the economic impact of the substance

abuse problem among our young adults,” stated Tym Rourke, Director of

Program and Substance Use Disorders Grantmaking at the New Hampshire

Charitable Foundation. “Employers are having a hard time finding young

workers who can pass necessary drug tests for employment in some

industries, and once hired, employees who misuse alcohol or other drugs

start costing the business in other ways. We need to be talking about it,

but that’s not all we can do, we need to take action as well.”

The brief provides recommendations derived from the State’s March 2013

strategic plan, Collective Action – Collective Impact: New Hampshire’s

Strategy for Reducing Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse and Promoting Recovery,

a publication of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and

Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment.

For more information visit www.drugfreenh.org ,

www.nhcenterforexcellence.org  or