On Wednesday, February 21st, 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.
Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council Members 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 us that there will be a rise in use.
The 2016 Iowa Youth Survey showed 10% of 11th graders in Iowa and 8% of 11th graders in Van Buren County reporting marijuana use in the past 30 days. 41% of 11th graders in Iowa and 35% of 11th graders in Van Buren County 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 $.02 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 (CDC, 2016). 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 (IDPH). In 2015, 20% of adult Iowans (over 400,000 people) engaged in binge drinking (BRFSS). In 2015, Iowa ranked 5th in th nation for percentage of adults who binge drink (CDC, 2016). According to the 2016 Iowa Youth Survey, 13% of Iowa 11th graders and 17% of Van Buren County 11th graders have binge drank in the last 30 days.
It is important for the health of Iowans to keep drug use at a low rate.
The AC4C press conference will be held in the East Hall of the 1st floor rotunda from 12:30 to 1:00 PM on February 21, 2018. Media, legislators and the public are encouraged to attend.