Montana officials are trying to get the word out to parents about the danger of leaving alcohol in reach of minors. Alcohol Education Coordinator, Lisa Scates with the Montana Department of Revenue said a new campaign will bring this message to parents at their local store.

"It's actually a picture of a youth hanging from a bar upside down with their arm outstretched like they're trying to reach for a bottle of alcohol off the shelf," Scates said. "So the idea is that the establishments that are participating hang them over where their alcohol is located in their store, and then there are also signs that accompany it. One of them says: 'Getting alcohol is hard for kids. Please don't make it easier.'"

Another messages reads: "Youth are at a greater risk of becoming alcohol dependent."

Scates said stores in Columbia Falls, Polson, Glasgow, Miles City, Sidney, and Helena are a few cities in Montana that are already participating.

"We know that most children are not getting their alcohol from retail sources. They're actually getting them from either parents, siblings, or someone who does a secondary buy for them, or they're actually just taking it out of their parent's liquor cabinet at home," Scates said. "This is a campaign that's strictly for parents. Most of the campaigns we do are normally for our liquor license holders or their employees, so we know it's not one problem, it's a larger problem, and we're just trying to hit every avenue."

The campaign was made possible by a $10,000 grant awarded to the Department of Revenue from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

"Parents are a key component to prevent underage drinking, but getting the message to reach them is sometimes a challenge," said Vicki Turner of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Prevention Resource Center and the ICC. "Research shows that some children start to experiment with alcohol beginning at age nine. It is never too early for parents to talk to their kids about alcohol, and to keep talking.  Sometimes it is the small conversations that make the biggest impact. And, know where your kids are hanging out."

For more information, or if you would like to participate in the campaign, call Lisa Scates at (406) 444-4307.

Lisa Scates: