North Dakota Teen Drinking Rates Drop

Bismarck - The numbers are in, according to the North Dakota Department of Human Services, the percentage of North Dakota students who drink underage has decreased by more than half.

According to a report released by North Dakota Department of Human Services, more than 90 percent of North Dakotans believe teen drinking is a serious problem in our state. 

And everyone from schools, counselors, to parents are having serious conversations about drugs and alcohol and about how real change is happening in our state.

Busy hallways and buzzing classrooms are all mile markers in a student's day.

But what so many are choosing not to do is getting people's attention.

"The partnership between the community, school, and family partnership, are essential for getting to these kids," Kathleen Wrigley, Shiloh Elementary School Counselor says.

And it seems more kids are getting the message.

Now, less than 20 percent of North Dakota high school students report binge drinking, in the last 30 days, down from more than 40 percent in 2001.

"We partner with the Bismarck Police Department, and youth bureau, and we reach out into the families of our students," Wrigley says.

Making sure, Wrigley says, to keep the conversation open with students in school and at home.

"We have been supporting communities in implementing strategies to prevent underage drinking," Laura Anderson, North Dakota Department of Human Services says.

Strategies like limiting access to alcohol in the home, bringing speakers into schools to share their stories, and giving kids positive alternatives to drinking.

Because Wrigley says kids are constantly faced with the choice to drink.

"We can't just have these conversations once," Wrigley says.

And the community must work together. 

"We have to keep these conversations flowing and fluid and keep having them so that they are encouraged both at home and at school,"  Wrigley says.

To keep North Dakota kids drug and alcohol free.

Teen drinking isn't the only number that is going down.

The Department of Human Services also says they have seen Marijuana use go down from 22 percent in 2001 to less than 16 percent, today.

The surgeon general says for every dollar spent on prevention, states are saving $64.

Counselors say to keep seeing positive numbers we all need to keep having conversations with kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.


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