Higher than average teen drinking numbers in Colorado are driving a state-wide push at curbing those statistics.
According to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey done every other year, 18.9% of Colorado teens say they drank alcohol in the last 30 days. That compares with the national average of 15.7% of teens and the Western Slope number at 19.6%.
What the survey doesn't track is deaths from drinking and driving among this age group. In just the last few months, a handful of teenagers have died while driving drunk in Colorado.
Locally, Brandon Mills, 18, crashed his car on the morning of June 13, 2012. His car rolled through an airport fence and he was pronounced dead at the scene with a .210 blood-alcohol level.
"You have to not only look at what happens when they get behind the wheel, but just the effects that it has on their bodies," Kate Porras with the Grand Junction Police Department said.
State officials say the survey numbers for binge drinking - having four of five drinks at one time - are even scarier. Over half of the teens drinking alcohol in the last month are drinking in excess.
Comparing underage liquor violations since 2010, the numbers are fluctuating. A total of 275 charges were brought by police in 2010, 304 in 2011, and 113 year-to-date in 2012.
Recognizing the problem, police are being proactive. "The people that provide them are just as culpable," Porras said. "A lot of [our efforts are] through education... We'll do compliance checks with businesses [and] we'll also do party patrols."
But even those patrols aren't stopping teens like Mills.
Trying to bring this trend to a stop and decrease these numbers, state officials have rolled out the 'Speak Now' campaign. Colorado is one of five states receiving grant funding to target teenage drinking getting $11.5 million over five years.
The beginning of the summer marks Phase 2 of the statewide push; Phase 1 focused on Prom weekend and Phase 3 will roll out at the beginning of the school year in August.
"Preliminary information shows us that this program is working," Stan Paprocki with the state's Division of Behavior Health said.
State officials say they are focusing much of their efforts on four counties where teen drinking numbers are the worst: Weld, Adams, Denver and Pueblo counties.
"Changing teen behavior in these four counties will change the behavior seen across the state," Paprocki said.