Most fifth grade children in our community are not using alcohol, but it’s a decision many face.
   “How wisely they choose is up to us,” says Cynthia Grubb, Pondera County Health Nurse.
   She related some staggering statistics, that according to the 2007 Montana Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, 30 percent of Montana high school students report they had their first drink of alcohol other than a few sips before the age of 13.
   Nationally, by the time students reach the eighth grade, 41 percent have had at least one drink and nearly 20 percent report having been drunk.
   Children in their teens in Pondera County need to know how to reject underage alcohol use and how potentially damaging underage drinking is to their health today and tomorrow.
   The Pondera County DUI Taskforce, the Prairie View School Council, the Pondera County Health Department, the Pondera County Commissioners, and the City of Conrad Mayoral office have joined with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to raise public awareness about the dangers of underage drinking.
   As part of a nationwide effort, they will beholding a Reach Out Now-Teach In event for fifth grade students at PVS on April 7-9.
   DUI Taskforce will lead the discussion about why young people should reject underage drinking and how they can resist peer pressure to use alcohol.
   The discussion about the harmful effects of underage drinking cannot stop at the school door.
   “Talk with your child about alcohol,” says Grubb. She adds, “A clear and consistent message at school and home that underage alcohol use is dangerous and unacceptable will reinforce a child’s ability to make healthy decisions.
   For more information about the subject, visit the Website at or call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 8-800-877-SAMHSA-7 or contact the Pondera County Health Department at 271-3247.
   “The benefits from talking to your child about underage drinking can last a lifetime and make a lifetime last,” said Grubb.