Teen activists urge Iowa lawmakers for money to start drug prevention coalitions in every county

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 7:07 AM CST
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A group of teenagers from Eastern Iowa is traveling to Des Moines on Monday to talk to lawmakers about some of the substance abuse issues they see.

The teens are with the Iowa Alliance of Coalitions for Change, a statewide group pushing to stop substance abuse throughout the state.

One issue that leaders are watching closely is middle school drinking. A recent study found the number of teen drinkers has dropped over the years, but middle school drinking has increased.

The study shows kids are drinking hard alcohol instead of beer. Leaders say changes to the law that lets gas stations sell hard liquor made it more available in homes

Lawmakers are watching this trend closely since they have worked hard to stop underage drinking over the years. The Iowa Alliance of Coalitions for Change plans on asking lawmakers for more money today for prevention coalition programs in every county.

They argue that Iowa profited about $30 million more in alcohol sales last year compared to other years, so they want a third of it.

"There's a vast majority of counties that do not have active youth substance abuse prevention coalition,” said Jennifer Husmann with Iowa Alliance of Collations for Change. “We don't even have enough you know to keep those things going right now, a lot of us are depending on federal funding that ends after ten years. We think we need to solve this issue within our state rather than rely on federal funding that goes away."

That money would also help start curriculums for kids to educate them about the perception of harm when it comes to not just alcohol, but things like vaping or marijuana, to get rid of their urges to want to us it.

The meeting with lawmakers starts Monday afternoon at 12:30. There will be teens that will give stories about loved ones they have lost because of substance abuse. It's open to the public.