CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Across the country, Americans are struggling with alcohol and substance abuse issues and Iowa is no exception.
That's why today students from Jones County will be meeting with lawmakers to talk about these issues and how they can affect young people.
They'll be meeting with lawmakers to talk about binge drinking in Iowa and what effect marijuana has on the youth.
We spoke with these students at Monticello High School. They're part of a group called SODA or "Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol."
It's part of the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition. They partner with Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) to teach students about the effects alcohol and drugs like marijuana can have on the brain.
Monticello High School Sophomore Rylee Bauer tells us it's important for other students to take part in a program like this.
"I don't think they understand what they're getting into when they just try it for the first time, they think just one time is not going to hurt, just it's my third time it's not going to affect me but suddenly it's two months in a row and they're still doing it," Bauer said.
Freshman Caroline Olson tells us talking to legislators gives her a chance to be heard.
"With the different changing in our economy and our government we want to be able to have a voice and with all the different things going on we need to be able to stand up and speak for ourselves," Olson said.
These Students will also discuss raising the excise beer tax in Iowa with legislators.
For 32 years Iowa's beer tax has remained the same.
They hope that their voices will be heard and legislators will increase that tax to help cut down on binge drinking.
The money collected from the tax will also fund public safety initiatives.
Stay with TV9 as we continue to bring you an update on their trip.