ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Underage drinking continues to be a problem in Odessa and an ordinance was passed to curb the issue. It punishes adults who provide the venue for underage kids to drink even if they didn't provide the alcohol.
"It's ok to be that parent who says no you can't have alcohol. It's ok to have a party and not have alcohol at that house," said Carrie Bronaugh, Director for Community & Prevention, Council Alcohol & Drug Abuse.
The new Social Host Accountability ordinance was approved by Odessa City Council on Tuesday. Adults who provide the space and place for underage kids to drink will now face fines ranging from $250 to $2000. Here 2 Impact Ector County, one of the driving forces behind this ordinance, worked to get it passed for the last two years
"It's been back and forth. The training on the wording, what to do, how to talk to councilmen, how to get it out to the city and get it approved," said Sara Tomlinson, H2I Coalition Coordinator.
- If the adult hosts a party at their home and there is underage drinking, it’s a fine for the property owner.
- If the adult rents a room at a hotel, and there’s underage drinking it’s a fine.
- If the adult rents a community room and underage drinking is involved, it’s a fine as well.
H2I says in 2015 almost $40 million dollars in Odessa went to underage drinking.
Between 2015-2016 the number of minor and having and drinking went up by 100. Mayor David Turner says the purpose of the ordinance is to keep the kids safe.
"When they drink we have problems with teen pregnancy. We have problems with drugs. We have problems with them driving. This is a simple message to say, its got to stop," said Turner.
Everyone involved with this ordinance knows adults want their kids to have fun responsibly, with it they can.
"We're not trying to punish adults, we're trying to help them educating and promoting healthy communication with their child."
H2I tells us Odessa becomes the fourth city in the state to adopt an ordinance like this. It is expected to take effect in 30 days.
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