SEPTEMBER 21, 2006 - Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT
MOUNTAIN HOME, AR - County statistics show that the number of teenagers charged with alcohol possession in Baxter County nearly doubled between 2004 and 2005, and the number from this year exceeds that from 2005.
To increase awareness about the consequences of alcohol-related offenses among teenagers, Baxter County District Judge Van Gearhart is creating a brochure for distribution at schools and elsewhere.
So far this year, 78 minors have been charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, which is a misdemeanor. Last year, 67 minors were charged, compared to 37 in 2004.
Officials attribute the increase to a stricter state law that went into effect last year, community awareness and the combined effort of law enforcement and prosecution to curb the problem.