The Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) 2016 Iowa Youth Survey (IYS) is out and it shows in general, underage drinking continues to decline. Alcohol use among Iowa 11th graders was down from the 2012 survey, falling from 26.4 percent in 2012 to 21.3 percent in 2016. In addition, binge drinking fell 11.1 percentage points from 24.0 percent in 2012 to 12.9 percent in 2016.
Middle schoolers had similar declines; among 8th graders, alcohol use fell from 7.2 percent in 2012 to 5.4 percent in 2016. Binge drinking among 8th graders was down from 7.6 percent in 2012 to 2.3 percent in 2016.
An area of concern is an increase in the percentage of students who reported having seriously thought about suicide. The percentage of 11th graders who said they had seriously thought about killing themselves in the last 12 months increased by 1.7 percentage points from 2012 to 2016 (from 15.2 percent to 16.9 percent) and among all grades surveyed, 13.3 percent said they had seriously considered suicide in the past year.
“The Iowa Youth Survey gives us a glimpse into the lives of our young people,” said IDPH IYS coordinator Pat McGovern. “While the answers represent a moment in time and do not give a complete view of the pre-teen and teenage mindset, they do give us a glimpse into their actions and beliefs. This enables us to tailor our programming and services in the most effective ways.”
In 2016, 83,638 students representing 83 percent of Iowa’s 332 public school districts participated in the IYS. The 2016 IYS is the 16th in a series of surveys that have been completed every two or three years since 1975. The survey is conducted with students in grades 6, 8, and 11 attending Iowa public and private schools. The IYS includes questions about students’ behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs, as well as their perceptions of peer, family, school, neighborhood, and community environments. IYS reports are generated by the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation. For more information about the IYS, visit www.iowayouthsurvey.iowa.gov/.
To see the full 2016 IYS State Report, visit http://www.iowayouthsurvey.iowa.gov/year_2016/index.html.