The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in recognizing May 12 through 18 as National Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Your voice. Your choice. Make a difference.”
“Prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives - including where and how we live, learn, work, and play - and everyone has a role in making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation,” said IDPH Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
“Prevention” encompasses a wide range of concerns, including underage drinking and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, suicide, and mental well-being.
Iowa is among the top ten states for high binge drinking rates. Of Iowans ages 12 and above, 27 percent reported an episode of binge drinking within the last month. The 2012 Iowa Youth survey found 6 percent of 6th graders reported drinking alcohol at least once; that percentage jumped to 18 percent by 8th grade and 48 percent by 11th grade. IDPH is partnering with 23 counties to reduce underage and alcohol abuse through compliance checks with alcohol retailers, media campaigns, and working to change the way young people and adults think about alcohol and how it affects their lives. To learn more about IDPH efforts to combat underage and binge drinking, visit www.whatdoyouthrowaway.org and www.stayclassyiowa.org.
Each year, over 4000 Iowa adults die from tobacco-related disease; health care costs in the state related to tobacco use top $1 billion. Even with Iowa’s focused health promotion campaigns, 17 percent of Iowa’s 11th graders reported currently using a tobacco product in the 2012 Iowa Youth Survey. Almost 29 percent of Iowans reported using a tobacco product within the last month. IDPH supports Quitline Iowa, a free telephone and online coaching service that assists tobacco users in quitting at their own pace. Visit www.quitnow.net/iowa/ or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Iowans ages 15 to 40. IDPH sponsors the Your Life Iowa program for teens and families concerned about suicide at www.yourlifeiowa.org/. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides confidential help for persons of any age 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 and at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
For more information about National Prevention Week, visit www.samhsa.gov/preventionweek.