Underage drinking still a problem in South Dakota - KOTA Territory News

Underage drinking still a problem in South Dakota

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The Spearfish Community Coalition hosted a Town Hall Forum to discuss social hosting tonight.

The central topic during the meeting regarded penalties adults should face when hosting underage drinking parties, known as social hosting.

The session started with a brief survey that tested attendees knowledge about underage drinking in South Dakota. That set the floor for guest speakers who then spoke about the very prominent problems that can come with underage drinking.

Among the speakers was Joyce Glynn, who has personally experienced the effects of what drinking can do. In 2006, Glynn lost her son Michael, who died in a car accident after a social hosting party.

Since then, Glynn has done everything in her power to stop a tragedy like that from happening to anyone else.   

"Basically what I've been doing is just talking about it and trying to keep it in peoples mind that there is a problem," said Glynn. "A problem much greater than I ever thought there was."

Glynn introduced South Dakota Senate Bill 94 to the legislature earlier this year, that would make social hosting a misdemeanor. Although it was of  defeated by a 5-4 vote, she says the battle for laws against serving to those underage has just begun.

"Many of us will get together this summer and talk about just what the underage alcohol consumption problem is in the state, and what can be done about it legislatively," said Glynn. "And begin to hopefully draft some legislation that will be supported and approved next year."

South Dakota ranks 5th in the United States for the number of teens who drive after drinking.

Also, underage drinking costs the state nearly $283 million a year.

Furthermore, South Dakota is 2nd in the nation for the highest percentage of underage binge drinkers.

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