[Missoula Forum for Children & Youth Article - December 9, 2016]
Adolescent Substance Use and Mental Health Data
"Survey Breaks Down Substance Abuse, Mental Health Issues Among Missoula Youth"
Survey results detailing students' substance use and mental health show Missoula's kids are abusing drugs and alcohol less, though depression and suicide still loom.
This comes from the 2016 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, conducted by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services' Addictive and Mental Disorders Division this spring in grades 8, 10 and 12. In Missoula County, 1,730 students participated.
"Our young people are doing the best they can to make good choices, however I think it's important that the public understands some of the struggles our young people are having," said Brandee Tyree, Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Prevention coordinator for Missoula Forum for Children and Youth. "I never like to paint a picture that's, 'Holy cow, young people are horrible, they're all out drinking and smoking."
By the time last year's Missoula County high school seniors made it to graduation, about 72 percent had imbibed alcohol at least once.
"I think we still need to work on in Montana ... that underage drinking is not a rite of passage," she said. "You don't have to do it to move into adulthood. I think adult Montanans drink a lot, so kids are no different. They mimic our behavior."
Missoula County kids' alcohol use is down from previous years.
"I believe prevention works," Tyree said. "I think we're talking more about mental health. Alcohol often can be seen as a stress reliever. Our parents' generation, alcohol is just alcohol. I am seeing that college kids (today) drink and drive way less than previous generations, and I think that alcohol is not quite as cool.
February 26, 2016 – ROCKVILLE, MD – The parents of a teenager killed after an underage drinking party turned grief into action this week to push for stronger laws.
Bills introduced in Annapolis would require toughen the penalties for the hosts of underage drinking parties. House Bill 409, named Alex and Calvin’s Law, would be a penalty of one-year maximum in jail and double the fine from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense for providing alcohol to underage drinkers. The proposals are spurred by two Montgomery County tragedies: the death of two Wootton High School graduates in June 2015 after attending an underage drinking party. Kenneth Jay Saltzman of Potomac pleaded guilty in December to furnishing alcohol to a minor. He hosted the underage drinking party June 25, which was attended by Samuel Ellis, the former star quarterback at Thomas S. Wootton High School.
Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger denounced the lax punishment – a $2,500 fine for the death of a teenager after a party – which is the maximum penalty under state law. “This is not justice. These misguided parents will continue to break the law, kids will continue to be injured and killed, until there are real consequences for someone who hosts an underage drinking party,” Manger said at a press conference. “The state needs to show that it cares more about keeping kids safe than it does about allowing parents to throw an underage drinking party for their kids.”
Members of the Senate committee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday, drawing cheers from the crowd. David Murk and Paul Li testified about the deaths of their sons following the teen party, and told legislators that parents continue to host underage parties. “It was really appalling after the accident and the individual who was hosting the party that night paid a $5,000 fine,” Murk told lawmakers, according to FOX DC. “That was very hard for my wife and I to swallow when he paid a fine in District Court as if he was paying a parking ticket.”
To read the full story, visit their website:
(MTN News Photo)
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS -
Another crash on a Montana roadway claimed a life early Saturday morning.
Montana Highway Patrol reports a 24-year-old man on an ATV slammed into a tree shortly after midnight.
The crash occurred west of White Sulphur Springs along U.S. Highway 12.
According to MHP, the man was northbound on Spring Creek Road.
He was unable to navigate a turn causing him to drift off the road and strike a tree.
MHP said alcohol and speed are likely factors in the crash.
The man, who was not identified but a Montanan, was pronounced dead on the scene.
He is the 70th death on Montana roadways this year.
To read the full story, visit KTVQ's website.