The Iowa Department of Public Health has selected 23 counties to participate in a five-year program to reduce underage and binge drinking in the state. Project director Julie Hibben says the effort is being financed by a $10.5 million federal grant. “These 23 counties had the highest need when it comes to underage drinking and binge drinking rates and their consequences,” Hibben said.
“These are the counties that kind of bubbled to the surface with the highest rates of abuse.” The counties chosen to participate in the initiative will serve at least 30,000 Iowans through a number of strategies.
“It could be something like implementing a media campaign regarding binge drinking in the county or policy changes based on data on underage drinking,” Hibben said. Nearly 28% of Iowans 12 years of age and older had consumed more than five drinks of alcohol in one sitting during the past month, according to a recent survey by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The national rate was 23%.
Hibben believes the program will improve the statistics in Iowa. “We know it’s worked in only places, but in Iowa, hopefully it will impact underage drinking and binge drinking and reduce both of those issues in our state,” Hibben said.
The counties selected to participate in the initiative are Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Buena Vista, Clinton, Delaware, Dickinson, Dubuque, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lee, Monona, Plymouth, Ringgold, Sac and Woodbury.