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State Workgroup Urges Montanans to Help Reduce Underage Drinking

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The Interagency Coordinating Council on State Prevention Programs Work Group is urging local communities and organizations to take advantage of numerous free resources available to help reduce underage drinking in Montana.

Vicki Turner with the Department of Public Health and Human Services said several work groups have on-going efforts to help reduce or limit youth access to alcohol:

“Right now what we’re promoting is utilizing our Parent Power website,” Turner said. “It’s been refreshed and renewed. It’s a tool for parents and community members to use to talk to their students and to young people about the dangers and risks involved with underage drinking.”

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.

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.

Turner said specific efforts, such as town hall meetings are underway in Kalispell, Great Falls, Billings, Malta, Butte, and Frenchtown to curb underage drinking.

“We have an opportunity for several Montana communities to participate in town hall meetings,” Turner said. “Communities themselves have self-alienated wanting to have a town hall meeting. Right now, we have approximately 20 plus communities across the state either have recently hosted or are going to host a town hall in the next few weeks or months to address underage drinking.”

A community meeting will be held in Mineral County on Monday, April 28, and a community luncheon will be held in Ravalli County on Monday, May 19.

Turner said 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 as to how to help in reducing underage drinking, visit the Parent Power website.

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