By HDN Editorial Board
Who wasn't appalled by the statistics recently released by the HELP committee about the drinking habits of high school and middle school students in Havre.
In 1999, the committee reported, 42 percent of Havre Middle School students who participated in the Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey said they'd had a drink in the previous 30 days. That number improved to 35 percent in 2001, but it still exceeded the state average of 30 percent.
The numbers were even worse for Havre High School. In 2001, 66 percent of high school students reported having a drink in the previous 30 days. The state average was 54 percent.
Last fall, 26 percent of Havre Middle School students and 39.4 percent of Havre High School students participating in the survey said they'd ridden in the past 30 days in a car driven by someone who had been drinking. Also, 33.7 percent of Havre High students said that in the last 30 days they had driven a car when they'd been drinking.
This is a complicated problem that has no single solution.
One thing we can do as a community is give our children more positive things to do. One way we can do that is to get behind the HELP committee's plan to open a Boys & Girls Clubs of America youth center at the old Devlin School. The Havre School Board approved the proposal this week.
The committee has ambitious plans for the club, including a gymnasium, a computer center, an arts and crafts center, and a teen center. All of this will take a lot of work and volunteer efforts to keep going.
We need to keep demonstrating to our young people that we as a community care about them and want to provide them with options. It's going to take our help to get them to avoid behavior that threatens their well-being and the well-being of everyone else in our community.