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Iowa Youth Survey: Uncovering Real-Life Issues for Real Kids

Nationwide organizations like the National Institute for Drug Abuse are consistently monitoring substance use trends of teenagers across the nation, but how do kids in Iowa compare to the rest of the nation? Are Iowa youth using certain kinds of drugs, or are they using alcohol? How often do they use it and how young are they when they start?
The Iowa Youth Survey is a tool to find out more about Iowa youth’s beliefs and attitudes about substance use, as well as information about their life experiences, home life, school life, and community life. Not only can this information help us better understand the real-life issues surrounding Iowa kids today, but much of the data is used by Prevention Specialists at Jackson Recovery to develop strategies and goals aimed at reducing substance use and preventing addiction in Siouxland.
The Iowa Youth Survey has been conducted every two years since 1999 to all 6th, 8th, and 11th graders throughout the state. The 211-question survey was recently administered to 70,770 students state-wide, and the 2012 results have just been released. This year’s survey shows that 23 percent of students statewide have consumed a full drink of alcohol, and 8 percent report binge drinking. The good news is, these numbers have decreased since 2010.
Consider these 2012 statistics concerning alcohol usage among youth in Iowa (statistics include results of all 6th, 8th, and 11th grade participants):
Number of students reporting to have ever consumed a full drink of alcohol:
Location Number of Surveys Percentage of Students Number of Students
Statewide 70,770 23% 16,227
Woodbury 3,096 24% 743
Plymouth 805 23% 185
Monona 188 23% 43
Number of students reporting having consumed alcohol within the last 30 days:
Location Number of Surveys Percentage of Students Number of Students
Statewide 70,770 11% 7,784
Woodbury 3,096 11% 340
Plymouth 805 12% 96
Monona 188 11% 20
Number of students reporting binge drinking (5 or more drinks within a couple hours):
Location Number of Surveys Percentage of Students Number of Students
Statewide 70,770 8% 5,561
Woodbury 3,096 9% 278
Plymouth 805 8% 64
Monona 188 9% 17
The data also allows Prevention Specialists and community coalitions to compare data year-to-year and identify trends in various categories.
Percentage of 11th grade students who report having had a drink in the past 30 days:
County 2002 2005 2008 2010 TREND
Woodbury 47.5% 48% 40% 37% Down
Plymouth 59.2% 46.4% 46% 35.7% Down
Monona 59.5% 49.6% 46.4% 32.7% Down
Percentage of 11th grade students who report binge drinking within the past 30 days:
County 2002 2005 2008 2010 TREND
Woodbury 41% 40% 31.7% 28.6% Down
Plymouth 43.4% 33.2% 36.3% 28.5% Down
Monona 53.4% 42.7% 36.3% 26.4% Down
Information from the Iowa Youth Survey is invaluable to anyone or any organization seeking to better understand Iowa youth and the issues that shape the course of their lives.
The survey is conducted by the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Behavioral Health in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Education, the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, the Iowa Department of Human Rights Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning and Statistical Analysis Center, and the Iowa Department of Human Services. If you would like to find, research, or track data from the Iowa Youth Survey, all surveys and tracking data can be found at www.iowayouthsurvey.iowa.gov .

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