The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 28, 2012

Funding ends for Substance Abuse Task Force

Director hopes others will carry on the mission


OTTUMWA — Task Force official: Numbers still too high

The Substance Abuse Task Force’s Kathy Hasley recently submitted the group’s final report.

Using data from the 1999 and 2010 Iowa Youth Survey, she reported that 10-year period saw a 14 percent decrease in alcohol use among 11th-grade students in Wapello County and a 6 percent decrease in  alcohol use among eighth-grade students in Wapello County.

“In my opinion, the percentages of youth involved in cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use is still too high,” Hasley said. “It is my hope that the coalition will continue to address these issues despite the lack of funding.”

Even with the improvement over the years, 32 percent of Wapello County 11th-graders — about one in three — report recent alcohol use. One in 10 high school-aged kids in Wapello County reports recently using marijuana. One in five area high school teens has used tobacco within the 30 days prior to taking the survey.

The numbers are lower for kids in eighth grade, though the anonymous survey does indicate one out of every 20 middle school children in Ottumwa and surrounding schools has recently used marijuana, one in 10 recently had a cigarette, and nearly one in five consumed alcohol in the 30 days prior to answering the survey.  

But like the decrease in alcohol use, those are improvements. Between 1999 and 2010, the number of Wapello County kids who had recently been smoking “pot” dropped 11 percent in 11th grade, which also saw a 14 percent decrease in reported cigarette use.

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