How do underage drinkers obtain alcohol?

Most underage drinkers report it is “very easy” toobtain alcohol. Underage drinkers obtain alcohol from two main sources:

  • Third parties, such as legal-age friends,
    siblings, and strangers1; and
  • Commercial outlets, such as stores, bars, and
    restaurants (often by using a fake ID)

Studies of alcohol purchases across the country reveal that, depending on the location and the environmental context, 40 to 90 percent of retail outlets have sold alcohol to underage buyers.

Home is the primary source of alcohol among the youngest drinkers. Some youth take alcohol from their parents’ liquor cabinets without their parents’ knowledge. Some parents even supply their underage children with alcohol at special events such as graduations, weddings, or holiday parties.


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Emergencies - 9-1-1

Non-Emergencies - (406) 447-8293


Sheriff Leo C. Dutton    

Undersheriff Dave Rau

Phone: (406)447-8235

Finance Officer:
Tammy Potter 
Phone: (406)447-8258 

Mailing Address:
221 Breckenridge
Helena, MT 59601
Sheriff's Office Email

Map to the Sheriff's Office


Where do young people go to drink alcohol?

Underage people drink at a variety of locations:

Parties in private residences. Large numbers of young people may gather in a home, often while parents are away, or in a college student’s off-campus residence. House parties are popular among both high school and college students, and underage non-students.

Parties at outdoor venues such as beaches, parks, fields, or parking lots. The remoteness of these locations may reduce the chances that residents will be bothered, but also usually means that party-goers will have to drive home after drinking.


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