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Image: EXPRESS SCRIPTS INC.

New Yorkers and Californians may not be as neurotic as they seemor at least, they're not prone to heavy prescription drug use. In fact, New York and California are among those states with the lowest prescription drug use in the U.S., according to a new study conducted by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company. Express Scripts announced the findings today at their annual Outcomes Conference.

The study, based on a random sample of 8.8 million Express Scripts customers, revealed that New York, California, Massachusetts and Colorado all had an average of 7.7 prescriptions per customer per year (see map). New Jersey, Florida and Minnesota followed with 8.2, 8.2 and 8.1 prescriptions per customer per year, respectively. Texans had 10.5 prescriptions per year and Louisianians, 11; the heaviest prescription drug usersat more than 11 prescriptions a yearlived in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The survey also showed that different drugs were used to differing degrees in different states. Residents of Utah, Maine, Oregon and Washington, for example, took the most antidepressants, whereas Southerners in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi received more cardiovascular medication. At the same time, people in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina used the fewest asthma drugs. "Such wide regional variation adds an entirely new dimension to an already complex pharmacy landscape," says Barrett Toan, CEO of Express Scripts. "We suspect the explanation lies in physicians' prescribing habits and the health status of a state's population, but consumer preferences may also play a role."