By Jen Kastner
ODESSA- Summer break has finally arrived. For most Basin teens, the backpacks and notebooks have been tossed in the corner and won't be picked back up until the Fall. With the oil and gas industry taking off, these days parents are out working hard to bring in the cash. That means more teens will be left home alone with a house full of substances to abuse.
The Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (PBRCADA) is trying to make sure our kids stay safe this summer. PBRCADA's Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Melessa Brenem, says, "Kids who were in school were monitored for eight hours a day. When they got home, their parents were off of work. Now, those schedules have changed."
PBCRADA's Prevention Resource Coordinator, Carrie Bronaugh, says, "Summers are sometimes sad because we hear stories that kids drank too much. There was nobody around to supervise them. They got into trouble and now they're dead, paralyzed or in the hospital."
PBRCADA says parents need to keep their eyes especially peeled for alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse.
"Pill popping has grown immensely over the past three years," Bronaugh said.
Medical Center Hospital reported 75% of the teens seen in their emergency room last year had either drank alcohol or gotten high off of drugs before coming in.
Excessive drinking is already a major health concern in the Basin. The Ector County Health Department says it ranks as one of the area's top problems.
PBRCADA can provide parents with several resources and references for free programs so that their children keep busy and out of trouble during the summer months.
PBRCADA Contact Information: