Change Your Impact
Series, Part 4: TIU, LIU Financial Burden
November 1, 2017 | View PDF
Underage drinking is a problem that costs Montanans significant financial burden each year. In 2013, it cost $0.3 billion! That’s $300 million tax dollars “spent on medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth.” Taylor DM, Miller TR. (2015). Methodology: Underage Drinking Fact Sheets. These costs also include criminal justice expenses and property damage expenses.
To put this cost into perspective: at most local drinking establishments or bars, an adult can easily pay $3.75 - $5.00 for a single drink. Underage youth are more likely to drink beer though. Purchased beer from a retail store is around $.86 per can. However, according to Taylor and Miller’s reports, for each drink consumed underage, $4.20 of tax dollars are spent by the state to combat the results of underage drinking.
Still, adults in our community often overlook the financial consequences and personal problems caused by youth drinking alcohol.
According to the document Underage Drinking In Montana; The Facts (2013), there is great harm associated with underage drinking in Montana. Traffic crashes, violent crime (which includes: rape, robbery, and assault), property crime, unintentional injury (includes fatal burns, drowning, and suicide), and high-risk sex are the main harms that are attributed to underage drinking.
Whether an adult knowingly allows youth to drink in their homes or takes no steps to prevent it, adults need to know that they are contributing to the hardships those youth may face. These choices, to provide and to allow underage youth access alcohol in their home, put a burden on our community and state in dealing with the aftermath of underage drinking.
Challenge yourself to Talk It UP & Lock It Up. Talk to youth about what this information means to you and take precautions by counting and locking up your alcohol. It is that simple to make positive impacts on Richland County youth! Send your comments to the Editor to further this conversation.
Next time: Change Your Impact Series, Part 5, A Youth’s Perspective