Decrease In Underage Drinking, Tobacco Use - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Decrease In Underage Drinking, Tobacco Use

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Just one week after a Kalispell teen fell to his death after allegedly attending an underage drinking party, the results of a survey involving dangerous teen behavior in Montana are released. The report shows the number of teens in Montana who drink is going down.

Maclay Bridge is hot spot in the summer for teens who looking for a good time, and that fun may involve bending the law.

"During summer I drink a lot, pretty much to have fun with friends," said 17-year-old Dylan Schulte.

"I drink quite a bit when I'm with my buddies, it's usually when I'm with my buddies," said 15-year-old Dylan Evans.

Schulte and Evans are among the teens who participated in a survey given at local high schools, looking into adolescent risky behavior, like drinking, tobacco use and texting and driving. 19-year-old Cody Thomas also answered the survey.

He said, "Usually my buddies are drinking, so I usually take the responsibility of keeping them safe."

According to the survey, more students share Cody's view on drinking.

It showed a 13 percent decrease in the last decade in students who had at least one drink of alcohol in the last 30 days. It also showed binge drinking, and tobacco use are on the decline.

"It's awesome," said Missoula County Sheriff Detective Paige Pavalone. "Whatever we're doing in the community, if it's not education and law enforcement, something is getting across to these kids, so they're drinking less, smoking less, and engaging in things that are less harmful to them."

Pavalone said local law enforcement is working harder than ever to bring those numbers down, with the help of programs like the DUI Task Force and the Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Program.

"Both try to tackle what we can do as far as education for our young community, what we can do to prevent underage drinking, texting while driving, substance abuse in general," Pavalone said.

Pavalone said the Sheriff's Office is also rearranging staffing this summer to get extra patrols to crack down on drunk driving, and teen drinking.

"We know where the hot spots are for high school aged parties and we want to inhibit that," Pavalone said.

The 99-item survey is administered by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

It's given out in February of every odd-numbered year. For a look at all of this year's findings see the 1999-2013 Montana High School Trend Report.


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