Every three years, the Iowa Youth Survey reveals behaviors and perceptions teens have about alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.
The results of the 2012 survey will be discussed during a Community Conversation Monday at the Marshalltown Public Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Community members are invited to attend the event, sponsored by SATUCI Youth Partners.
Ron Mirr, consultant and project evaluator who works with SATUCI in evaluating data from the Iowa Youth Survey, will moderate the discussion.
The Iowa Youth Survey is conducted in Iowa middle and high schools. About 100,000 Iowa students in sixth, eighth and eleventh grades answer questions about their perceptions on issues such as alcohol and substance use. The survey is the biggest source of data to get those perceptions. Each Iowa school district that participates receives its individual data.
"The survey results are a report card back to the community on the usage of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana," said Vickie Lewis, director of professional services at SATUCI. "This information is eye-opening because it comes directly from our youth. Organizations and agencies in the community use the information to make decisions about programs and services they provide to youth."
Besides the current data, Lewis said trends over the last 10 years will also be reviewed.
"When we look at the trends, we can see progress in the decrease of teens using illegal substances. For example, over the past 10 years, Marshalltown has experienced a general decline in the overall use of alcohol, binge drinking, marijuana and tobacco, but a closer look raises some concerns with specific age groups."
Lewis said participants at the Community Conversation will include high school students and there will be discussion on what the community can do to continue to make progress on underage drinking and marijuana and tobacco use.
"We are going to ask if what we are currently doing is getting the results we want and what we can do to make a difference."