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The Wyoming Department of Health is asking young adults to complete a survey on health behaviors

Wyoming Health Department

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is asking young adults ages 18-29 to complete a health survey about substance abuse and other health-related behaviors to gauge the health and well-being of this demographic.

This is the fourth time the survey has been offered after previous surveys were conducted in 2016, 2018, and 2020.

“Our survey asks specific substance questions specifically about youth,” said Melissa Taylor, substance use prevention epidemiologist with the WDH. “So, are you currently using substances, and then also some behaviors around substance use. One of our questions is about drinking and driving. We're looking at how often young adults are using substances, what type, and when they're using them.”

This is the first year the department has conducted the survey entirely online, previously having done it via phone.

“We do see high rates of some substance use in Wyoming among all age groups,” she said. “So, we see substance use rates kind of slightly increased for both our youth and young adults as well as our adults. Our program specifically focuses on the big three substances that are a burden among Wyoming's population, which is alcohol, marijuana, or cannabis and tobacco. Those three substances are really kind of a bulk of this survey, and behaviors around use of those substances.”

Additional health questions center on survey takers’ mental health and access to care in an effort to identify ways to use prevention resources to areas that are identified as needing attention.

Other sections have also been added to this year’s survey as well, which include motor vehicle safety, mental health and suicide, experiences with violence, and alcohol and tobacco use.

“So our program, most substance use prevention program has collaborated with the Maternal and Child Health Unit and so these questions about health care access, as well as some of the related risk factors with substance use, as well as priority areas for maternal and child health are a little bit new to this survey,” she said. “We're excited to see what this tells us as far as health care access specific to young adults.”

The survey opened on Oct. 5 and is available through the end of the year. The department would like to have at least 2,500 young adult Wyomingites to complete the survey, which takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, Taylor said.

“One of the reasons that we wanted to move to this web-based survey, just recognizing that, in general, it's getting more and more difficult to complete phone-based surveys,” she said. “In addition, this specific population, I think, more than maybe other age groups, is less inclined to answer a phone from an anonymous or unknown number. So just hoping to maybe capture more participants through this web-based method, then we have only doing a phone based survey.”

The survey is co-sponsored by the Community Prevention Unit and the Maternal and Child Health Unit, part of the WDH’s Public Health Division.

Participants will remain anonymous and also have the option of entering a drawing to win a $25 or $100 gift card at the end of the survey.

It can be accessedhere and is available in English and Spanish.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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