Experts Say There's a Spike in Underage Drinking; Officers Trained to Help Stop Activity

Experts Say There's a Spike in Underage Drinking; Officers Trained to Help Stop Activity

By Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

Texans Standing Tall, The Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and TxDOT provided training to multiple West Texas law enforcement agencies. The goal? To help educate the community on underage drinking and to train officers how to handle a party full of minors.

It's called party dispersal training. Since experts say there's an up tick in underage drinking, different agencies from Odessa joined forces to put this illegal activity to an end.

"Our primary goal for the coalition is to bring underage drinking, prescription and marijuana drug use to a reduction in the community of Ector County," Carrie Bronaugh with the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said.

According to a Texas secondary school survey, almost 50% of minors say alcohol is "somewhat" or "very easy" to obtain. More than a third of secondary school students said they get booze "most of the time" or "always" from friends or at parties.

On Monday morning, officers were first briefed on underage drinking statistics and given an overview on how to handle a party full of minors.

"A lot of misconceptions is just that they're going to slap them on the wrist, pour out the beer and send them home. But a police officer can ticket them and they can ticket their parents if the parents give them the alcohol," Bronaugh said.

Officers were also put in real life party situations with the help from local teens.

"We had to try to make it as difficult for the officers as possible," Alexus Galindo, a student volunteer, said.

"I learned that you definitely shouldn't drink underage," Justin Bronaugh, another student volunteer, said.

This was the first training of its kind in the Permian Basin. But the organizations involved are hopeful that it could become an annual event.

"We've seen an increase in just about everything in the community due to the oil boom and the economy that we have. Not just in underage drinking but in drugs as well," Bronaugh said.