Wet or dry, each county has problems with underage drinking

HARDY, AR (KAIT) – Saturday, a 17-year-old died after falling into the Spring River.  Monday those with the Sharp County Sheriff's Department confirmed the teen had been drinking.

"Sharp County is a dry county.  We have yet to find a way to stop people from bringing alcohol into the county," said Detective Sergeant Ken Guidry.

Guidry said it is not against the law to have alcohol in Sharp County but it is illegal to share it with certain people.

"Our problem is them dispensing it to underage people," said Guidry.

They are still searching for the adult who provided teens with alcohol this past weekend that contributed not only to the "delinquency" of a minor but to his death.

"They admitted that they had brought alcohol to the river to consume and they admitted that he had drank approximately four beers," said Guidry.

Guidry said most people don't start drinking in Sharp County.  They actually start drinking further up river and by the time they get into the county they're heavily intoxicated.  He said teenage drinking is a problem but it is not any worse in Sharp County than it is anywhere else.

"Until they invent something else that takes the place of alcohol then it's going to continue to be a problem," said Guidry.

In many cases teens are provided alcohol by parents or friends or will ask someone to go in and buy the liquor for them.

"Teenagers will find a way to get alcohol.  They get adults to purchase the alcohol for them they get adults to give them the alcohol.  If they want it bad enough they're going to find it," said Guidry.

Stopping teenage drinking has to start with education.  As for changing the law, Guidry said he doesn't think it would make a difference.

"I think even if you make the penalty stiffer it's still going to occur.  My dilemma is who do you punish: the adults providing it or the juvenile's who are consuming it?" said Guidry.

The case is still under investigation.

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