Jones Co. Coalition takes youth to Capitol

     On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the alliance of Coalitions for Change (AC4C), a state-wide collaboration to effect positive change in substance abuse, will be meeting with the state legislators to discuss their concerns about youth marijuana use and substance use in Iowa, along with education on increasing the beer excise tax in Iowa.

     The Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition is bringing 40 students and adults from Monticello, Anamosa, and Midland high schools. They will be among the several community coalitions representing a mixture of Iowa’s rural and urban populations at this event.

     Iowa has a low rate of marijuana use when compared to the national average. However, the perception of harm among youth is declining. A lower perception of harm historically shows that there will be a rise in use.

     The 2016 Iowa Youth Survey showed 10 percent of 11th graders reporting marijuana use in the past 30 days. Forty-one percent of 11th graders believe there is a slight risk or no risk in harming themselves if they use marijuana once a week. In states with policy expansion of marijuana, youth use rose as perception of risk decreased.

     For 32 years, Iowa’s beer tax has remained at less than 2 cents per drink. In Iowa, excessive alcohol use including binge drinking cost $1.9 billion, or $1.59 per drink, in problems associated with binge drinking in 2010. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in Iowa, and binge drinking is a common form of alcohol consumption. It is a serious public health concern.

     Young adults aged 25-34 years of age are most likely to binge drink, followed by those aged 18-24 and 35-44 years old. In 2015, 20 percent of adult Iowans (over 400,000 people) engaged in binge drinking. In 2015, Iowan ranked fifth in the nation or percentage of adults who binge drink. According to the 2016 Iowa Youth Survey, 13 percent of Iowa 11th graders have binge drank in the last 30 days.

     The AC4C press conference will be held in the East Hall of the first floor rotunda.


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