State Workgroup Urges Montanans to Help Reduce Underage Drinking - Numerous Resources are Available
The Interagency Coordinating Council on State Prevention Programs (ICC) Work Group is urging local communities and organizations to take advantage of numerous free resources available to help reduce underage drinking in Montana. The ICC has joined with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in highlighting the critical public health issue of underage drinking in America.
According to Vicki Turner of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Prevention Resource Center, several of the ICC participating agencies have on-going efforts to help reduce or limit youth access to alcohol. One of the resources is the youth led media campaign called ‘Above the Influence’. Between now and early June, several Montana communities are developing locally driven messages and strategies to change social norms or attitudes relating to the use of alcohol. Specific efforts are underway in Kalispell, Great Falls, Billings, Malta, Butte, and Frenchtown.
Another resource is the ‘Talk, They Hear You’ campaign that encourages parents to have conversations with their children about the dangers of alcohol as early as nine years old. “Parents need to decide what’s right for them, but research shows that some children start to experiment with alcohol beginning at age 9,” Turner said. “It is never too early for parents to talk to their kids about alcohol.”
Town hall meetings used to curb underage drinking are also being scheduled now across Montana and can be found at http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings . Thousands of communities across the U.S. will hold events to educate people about the dangers of underage drinking and to involve people in proven prevention strategies, Turner said. A community meeting will be held in Mineral County on April 28 and a community luncheon will be held in Ravalli County on May 19.
Other resources include responsible alcohol sales and service training for anyone who sells or serves alcohol. This training includes ways to identify and prevent sales and service to underage persons by covering ways to identify fake or altered identification, how to refuse a sale or service and how to handle difficult situations. For more information about server training, visit http://www.revenue.mt.gov/home/liquor.aspx, then click on the liquor education tile.
All these resources can be found at http://www.parentpower.mt.gov
“Parents have the power to prevent their kids from drinking alcohol,” Turner said. “The good news is there’s plenty of resources available to help arm parents with the tools they need help their kids.”
The ICC is charged with developing, through interagency planning and cooperation, comprehensive and coordinated prevention programs that will strengthen the healthy well-being, and safety of children, families, individuals, and communities – particularly families that are deemed to be at risk.