A new survey shows fewer Iowa teenagers are drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Kathy Stone, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the Iowa Youth Survey involved nearly 98,000 students at schools around the state.
The survey was conducted in October of last year and the results were released on Friday. Stone says 81% of the students surveyed said they had not consumed alcohol in the past 30 days, while 94% said they had not used marijuana. The survey is taken by 6th, 8th and 11th graders. It shows 37% of 11th graders had at least one alcoholic drink in the previous 30 days.
That marked a dip from 41-percent in 2005 and 48% in 1999. Eighteen-percent of 11th graders reported smoking at least one cigarette in the last 30 days. That down from 20% in 2005 and 41% in 1999. Stone says the survey also asks students about bullying, gambling and their attitudes and beliefs.
"We asked students if they’ve any thoughts or plans of suicide in the past year. Nine-percent of all the students that responded answered yes, while 15-percent of 11th grade girls said yes, they had considered suicide in the past year," Stone said. "That’s very concerning to us."
Marijuana smoking and misuse of prescription drugs remains unchanged from the 2005 survey. Thirteen-percent of 11th graders said they had smoked pot in the past 30 days, while eight-percent said they had abused prescription drugs.
"We know that substance abuse prevention messaging does matter," Stone said. "Kids do pay attention to that, even though it may not seem like that to parents and schools. We know that when parents, schools and communities work together they can improve teen alcohol and drug use." The Iowa Youth Survey has been conducted every three years since 1975.
The 2008 report is 118 pages long and is available on-line here .