NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Underage drinking is a big enough concern to Nacogdoches residents that now many are looking for ways to eliminate the problem.
Drug and alcohol community liaison Jose Anson hits the road each morning in a vehicle wrapped with the message, "It's a jungle out there. Stay alcohol and drug free." The daily road trips take Anson to schools and youth clubs where he learns kids' alcohol use is often patterned by what they see.
"Their family members or grandparents or parents are doing it, they believe it's the norm," Anson said. "It's just something they do. They don't understand the repercussions of drinking underage."
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the most recent statistics show in Texas more than 800,000 persons aged 12 to 20 used alcohol in the past month. The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas is anticipating some drop when a new Texas A&M study is revealed next year.
"We're not having a bigger problem than other areas," ADAC Coalition Coordinator Peggy Muckelroy said. "The use of alcohol is going down, which is good and we want it to continue to spiral down."
"We have to be pro active in letting these kids know," Anson said.
Anson arrives at Nacogdoches High School where his repertoire with staff is past the awkward stage. Counselors welcome him as he publicizes on this visit a town hall meeting on the underage drinking topic.
Law enforcement, prosecutors and the mayor pro-tem will lead a discussion on underage drinking on Thursday. More than 1,000 community-based organizations, colleges, and universities statewide are holding similar events. The town ha;ll starts at 2 P.M. at the SFA Theater in the Baker Patillo Student Center.