75% of Teens Seen in ER Drank Alcohol or Got High Before Visit

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- New numbers about teen patients have just been released at Medical Center Hospital. Last year alone, 75% of the teens seen in the emergency room had been drinking alcohol or doing drugs before coming in.

MCH Trauma Outreach Coordinator, Lisa Earp says, "We need to do something about it and it's imperative we do something now."

With these numbers in hand and prom and graduation just around the corner, MCH is not wasting another minute. They're organizing a town hall meeting this Saturday with speakers from law enforcement and substance abuse programs. They'll start spreading the word about this alarming problem.

"Moms and dads, if you don't think your kids doing it or has been tempted, they probably have," Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bruce Becker, said.

Dr. Becker has faced and heard countless stories of teen drinking gone terribly wrong.

"I know a story [about a teen] that was doing something as simple as standing on a balcony after drinking when he tried to high five a friend across another balcony and lost his balance. He fell to the ground and died," Becker said.

Ector County has a track record of a substance abuse. County health rankings were released this month. They show that Ector County is still above the national average when it comes to excessive drinking.

MCH says teens are often just modeling themselves after their parents.

Earp adds, "Most of your underage drinkers are a direct reflection of their parents, their friends and their family. They are the greatest influence on whether or not they drink."

The town hall meeting will take place this Saturday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. in the board room at Medical Center Hospital. It is free and open to the public.