New radio and web series investigates high risk youth drinking

Friday, January 8, 2010

Category: Radio

FARGO, N.D., January 8, 2010—In a recent study, North Dakota ranked first nationally in underage, high-risk drinking. A series of radio reports from Prairie Public is investigating solutions to this alarming trend.

“High Risk High: Youth Drinking in North Dakota” examines how our region attained its dubious ranking, consequences of the trend, and workable solutions for families, treatment workers, educators, law enforcement, and health and human service departments.

The reports air during Prairie Public’s radio news programs, “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and “Hear It Now” beginning January 11, and the full audio and video series, including supplemental learning content, is available at

“Underage drinking is a serious problem in the upper Midwest,” said Meg Luther Lindholm, producer of the series. “In 2006, North Dakota ranked first in the nation for the number of self-identified college-aged binge drinkers. The media tends to focus on the issue whenever a young person dies from overdrinking. Yet larger questions of why this problem is so entrenched go unanswered.”

Prairie Public has created “High Risk High: Youth Drinking in North Dakota” to help students, teachers, and parents explore all angles of youth drinking. Essays from young people and parents who are dealing with alcohol problems in their families are featured, and the project traveled around the state to see what young people, parents and alcohol prevention advocates in many communities are doing to reduce youth drinking.

Bill Thomas, Prairie Public’s director of radio, said the non-profit networked with an array of organizations and groups in North Dakota representing colleges, law enforcement, clergy, addiction counselors, and young people who are working together to figure out how to stem the tide of underage drinking. ““High Risk High: Youth Drinking in North Dakota” considers many of these efforts and explores programs and policies in other parts of the country that have proven successful in reducing the problem of underage drinking,” he said.



• Prairie Public

• FM Area Foundation

• Otto Bremer Foundation

• Division of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of the North Dakota Department of Human Services


Prairie Public operates (in partnership with NDSU and UND) a public radio network that broadcasts throughout North Dakota and portions of neighboring states and provinces. Each week approximately 20,000 people listen to hear National Public Radio, international news, and local and regional entertainment and news reports. Prairie Public’s television network covers North Dakota, northwest Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Prairie Public’s education department works with school systems throughout North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.


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