Underage drinking cost Region 9 an estimated $74 million
In 2006, underage drinking cost the state of Texas $1.6 billion.[i] In 2010, underage drinking cost the state of Texas $6 billion, an increase of 275% over 4 years.[ii] The drastic increase can be attributed to a number of factors, but the problem is just as pervasive in Region 9. Data from the Texas School Survey indicates over 1/3 of students from grades 9-12 drank alcohol in the past month alone, while 66% have at least tried alcohol before. The normalcy of adolescent drinking reflects the statewide statistics from MADD which indicate 9 out of 10 underage Texans believe it is common for their peers to get drunk.[iii]
The cost of underage drinking in Texas has risen steadily over the past decade, and Region 9 is no different. Broken down into 2015, if drinking cost Texas $6 billion and there were 25 million Texas residents, as well as 601,757 residents in Region 9, then the average household (2.71 people) in Region 9 paid $464 in 2015 due to underage drinking.
Because there were 157,358 households in Region 9 in 2015, that means underage drinking cost Region 9 an estimated $73 million. As a result of struggling families, smaller wages, and a shrinking oil economy, saving as many taxpayer dollars is important to Permian Basin and Concho Valley residents. The cost of life cannot be quantified into dollar amounts, so preventing underage drinking is a necessary step our communities must enforce to eliminate the economic repercussions of youth alcohol consumption.
By Kevin Thompson
Regional Evaluator Region 9 Prevention Resource Center
[i] Sacks, J. J., Roeber, J., Bouchery, E. E., Gonzales, K., Chaloupka, F. J., & Brewer, R. D., State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2013, 45(4), 474-485, April 2016.
[ii] Texas Police News, Underage Drinking in Texas: The Facts, April 2016.
[iii] Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Underage Drinking Statistics, April 2016.
Published August 8, 2016.