Olympia- Target Zero's Party Intervention Patrol located a large underage drinking party in Lacey on Friday night. About 75 people ages 15 to over 21 packed the residential neighborhood duplex shoulder-to-shoulder on Mullen Rd SE in Lacey. Dozens of cars filled the alleyway entrance to the residence, lining both sides of the road. Evidence of beer and hard alcohol use was scattered throughout the residence and outdoors. The party was located because a neighbor called 9-1-1 to notify police of the loud party. -30-
Of the partygoers who had consumed alcohol, 7 were ages 15-17, and 22 were ages 18-20. The range in blood alcohol levels was from 0.027 to 0.117. All but one of the 29 underage drinkers at the party were taken to the Public Health and Social Services office in Olympia, where they had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an intervention specialist who conducted a brief intervention interview and an evidence based screening of their substance use. Parents of the underage drinkers were also given the opportunity to meet with an intervention specialist and receive information on the dangers of underage drinking along with resources for their youth. The homeowner was booked into Thurston County Jail for providing alcohol to minors.
The mission of the Party Intervention Patrol is to positively influence youth in Thurston County to make the decision not to drink; and to intervene as early as possible in the lives of those who have chosen to drink. Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies in the county understand the risks and negative outcomes associated with underage drinking, and support this project by joining forces to work as a multijurisdictional team in stopping underage drinking parties and creating a safe environment for counselor-youth brief interventions. Trained intervention specialists meet one-on-one with youth to conduct a brief screening and offer resources. This practice is based on what is done throughout the country in emergency rooms.
"Underage drinking is a factor in many negative life outcomes, such as impaired driving crashes, sexual assaults, physical injuries, and reduced success in school", said Jerry Noviello, Target Zero Manager for Thurston County. "Each person that meets with an intervention specialist is briefly evaluated for level of abuse and dependency. Our counselors are able to utilize this information to tailor their conversations with each person, help them recognize the dangers in their current behavior, and encourage them to make healthier decisions in the future."
The Party Intervention Patrol is a multiagency effort comprised of Prosecuting Attorney's Office, local, state, and county law enforcement, Public Health and Social Services, and ESD 113. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission funds this project, because it specifically targets young drivers, who are at an increased risk of being involved in a dangerous crash.