The 2014 Iowa Youth Survey (IYS) was released by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Friday and according to the results of the survey, alcohol among Iowa’s middle school and high school students remained roughly the same where alcohol abuse decreased.  In the most recent survey, 14 percent of 11th graders said they ‘drank beer in the past 30 days,’ compared to 19 percent in 2012.

“The Iowa Youth Survey gives us a glimpse into the lives of our young people,” said IDPH Iowa Youth Survey 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 the 2014 survey, 39 percent of all respondents reported they were bullied at school at least once in the last 30 days by other students calling them names, making fun of them, or teasing in a hurtful way. This is slightly down from 2012, when 41 percent reported being bullied. The percentage of students who said they had made a suicide plan within the past 12 months remained relatively stable from 7 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2014.

According to the IDPH, a new question was added for the 2014 survey that asked about the use of e-cigarettes during the past 30 days. The reported usage rates of e-cigarettes were 3 percent of 6th graders, 4 percent of 8th graders, and 11 percent of 11th graders.

The survey also indicated that 9% of students had used marijuana and 99% had responded that they had never used meth.  48% had said that they strongly agreed that it was against their values to have sex as a teenager with that number decreasing with the age of the student from 69% of 5th graders and only 21% of 11th graders.

Participation in the 2014 IYS was up from 2012 to 77,139 students representing 85 percent of public school districts. The 2014 IYS is the 15th 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.

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