Ector County Teens Down Alcohol More Than Those in Texas

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Underage drinking has always been an issue, but it's a bigger one in Ector County.

Youngsters there are guzzling down the alcohol more than others in the state.

But with all the new alternative entertainment avenues springing up, it makes you wonder why it's not stopping the problem.

In a recent report released by Medical Center Hospital, nearly sixteen percent of young Odessans binge, whereas under fifteen percent of teens in Texas engage.

And although it's a popular belief that the situation must be worse in Crane or Andrews or any nearby towns, it's not true (at least in this case.) They're actually slightly lower than the state average.

Dr. Jeff Pinnow at MCH sees the effects alcohol has on patients daily. And he attributes the issue to the way of life in Odessa.

"The adults tend to drink more as well, I think that's the culture, and unfortunately that been passed down to the youth," he said.

He has teenagers at home, so he shared how he handles alcohol-related situations at home. He said he only has a few drinks in front of his kids and also locks his bar. And he said he also tries to teach them that alcohol can be safe in small quantities. But we all know excessive consumption leads to a damaged liver.

"There's also some damage to brain cells,so the younger these kids start drinking, the higher the risk that they will develop some neurological problems later in life," Pinnow said.

According to the CDC, even adults tend to binge drink more than it was thought to occur. But Pinnow just emphasized for parents to be good role models to their children, especially with what he has to see at work.

"In the moment you're desensitized, but when you go home there's despair knowing that next week another child is gonna come in with the same behavior, and unfortunately with similar injuries and you just hope that next week they won't repeat the same problems," he said.