"Project KNOW" targets underage drinkers

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish is among the top in the state for underage drinking, but new funding looks to change that statistic. The Calcasieu Office of Juvenile Justice Services received a 1.3-million dollar grant from the state to target underage drinkers. It's called "Project KNOW."

Launched January 29th, it gives law enforcement agencies throughout the parish funding to provide extra manpower for checkpoints, compliance checks and party patrols. So far the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office has dedicated 135 man hours and 117 deputies to party patrols - resulting in 26 summons for underage drinking. 50 parents have also been called to come and pick up their kids from parties.

"We are trying everything we can to be proactive and aggressive. Now it's the community's turn. Parents - moms and dads - it's right underneath your nose you just need to look for it," said Sheriff Mancuso.

"We just want parents to know that it is not a right of passage, like people think - it's a health risk and that's what we want them to understand. They're binge drinking, they are drinking as much as they can as fast as they can as quick as they can and they are damaging their bodies. They're damaging their health," explained Mary Kaye Allemond, Project KNOW director.

The funding is for one year and will be distributed to agencies across the parish.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.