‘Project Graduation’ to target underage drinking in Odessa for next 2 weeks

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ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – It’s that exciting time of year for graduations. That also means parties will happen.

But, Odessa Police want people to know: there are dangers to teenage drinking.

“We’ve seen horrific things happen during graduation weekend and we want that to stop,” said Cpl. Steve LeSueur. “We have had teenagers die, coming from a party, or underage drinking party… whether it’s an overdose or drinking too much.”

Law enforcement around Odessa are taking part in Project Graduation.” Police will be looking out for underage drinking the next two weekends, all the way up to Memorial Day weekend. OPD is working with agencies like the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, ECISD, UTPB police, and Crime Stoppers of Odessa.

Sara Hinshaw is the interim program director for the Midessa Community Coalition Alliance. It’s part of the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

“A lot of parents believe it’s a rite of passage for a graduating child, and it’s not,” said Hinshaw. “Our adults, our parents think, if we can teach our child responsibility in drinking, then I can teach them how to stop when they’re supposed to stop. But, that’s not the case.”

Sara says Odessa’s Social Host Accountability Ordinance has put the brakes on a lot of these parties. Police say the ordinance targets homeowners and parents who provide a place where teen drinking is happening.

“We can still issue a citation even if whoever is hosting that party, even if they’re not there,” said Cpl. LeSueur. “Our goal isn’t to issue as many citations as we can, or to make as many arrests as we can. Our goal is to save lives.”

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