Crockett county is a large, rural county located near the Big Bend area of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population of the county was 3,719. This county, as with many other counties in Region 9, does not contain any cities or towns. Instead, there is one “census-designated place”, Ozona, which also serves as the county seat. This county is very large, comprising roughly 2,807 square miles of land. To put this in perspective, this is roughly six times the size of New York City.
The majority of cases prosecuted in Crockett county in the past year were drug offenses. Over 50% of the cases prosecuted were drug offenses. When alcohol related prosecutions are added, almost 65% of all cases prosecuted are accounted for. It’s important to remember that these numbers do not reflect dropped charges and other instances where an individual may have been arrested for a drug/alcohol offense but was not prosecuted. These numbers reflect a combination of adult and juvenile prosecutions.
While the number of instances may seem small, the economic impact of these instances is significant. Recent numbers suggest that Texas spent $6 billion on underage drinking in 2010. With population and economic growth in the area, it is projected that Region 9 could spend up to $540 million on underage drinking in 2017. That breaks down to roughly $889 a person for the 607,784 residents of Region 9. That means that the economic impact for Crockett county alone could be upwards of $3 million for its 3,719 residents.
Where is all the money spent on underage drinking? Early drinking makes teens likely to engage in a number of risky behaviors. One of the most common risky behaviors among teens is risky sexual behavior. This behavior increases the likelihood that teens will end up pregnant or with a sexually transmitted infection. While Texas’ teen pregnancy rate sits well above the national average, Region 9 has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation. In fact, out of the 254 counties in Texas, Crockett county is number 17 in number of teen pregnancies for 2017. It is likely that some, if not most, of these pregnancies occurred as a result of having sex after drinking and/or using drugs.
Data acquired by Region 9 from talking to teens from this area indicate that teens appreciate being talked to like adults. They prefer straight-forward information and facts backed by science rather than ambiguity and emotional techniques. Parents and teachers are the first line of defense for many of these kids, don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to them. For more information on teen pregnancy, teen drinking, and how to talk to your kids or other kids in your life, check out these resources:
Published June 19, 2018.