It's not just happening in Butte or Montana. It's a nationwide crisis. Underage drinking is higher than it has ever been. Drinking and driving is not just a teen problem — it affects every age group.
Underage drinking is a community problem and must be a community–wide solution. Retailers and tavern owners must commit not to sell to anyone under 21, members of the law enforcement profession must enforce existing laws and penalties, and the adults of the community must set a good example both at home and in public.
Butte and Silver Bow County:
Citations in 2008 (January 1 – December 8):
658 MIP (minor in possession)
439 DUI (driving under the influence)
40% of BSB high school students reported coming to school intoxicated at least once.
70% of youth in SW Montana say that alcohol is easily obtained.
(BSB Health Department, Prevention Services)
Underage Drinking in Montana:
Montana ranks 5th
highest among the 50 states for the cost of per youth drinking. Underage drinking cost the citizens of Montana $274 million in 2005. These costs resulting from youth alcohol use includes medical care, work loss, pain and suffering.
Source: Underage Drinking in Montana (pdf)
A National Tragedy
45% of people who die in car crashes involving a drinking driver under age 21 are people other than the driver.
Alcohol is the substance of choice for youth.
Alcohol dependence rates are highest among young people between the ages of 18 and 20 — before they are old enough to drink legally.
When teens drink, they drink more than adults. On average, young people have 5 drinks on a single occasion. Binge drinking can lead to serious problems and death.
NIAAA Alcohol Alert January 2006
Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings... read more
Underage Drinking Monthly Resource Alert November 2008
Findings in an undercover operation conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Substance Abuse Prevention and Research Program, as part of research sponsored, showed that clearly underage and intoxicated fans have a relatively easy time purchasing alcohol at professional sports events... read more
Hit & Run
by Justin Post and John Grant Emeigh
— The Montana Standard 10/29/07
When Danny Thatcher heard three 14–year–old girls were involved in
a hit-and-run accident near his house in the Blacktail Lane area early Sunday,
he ran to the scene only to realize his worst fears... read
by John Grant Emeigh
— The Montana Standard 3/9/08
It was more than 20 years ago that an alcohol–related traffic accident
took the lives of two Butte Central students... read
Teen’s Death Bringing Life to Others
— Montana's News Station.com 11/12/07
The family of Mariah McCarthy, who was killed when hit by a pickup last Saturday
night, says her death is bringing life to others... read