Underage drinking bust highlights need for alcohol awareness among teens

Majority of arrests in parking lot

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. - Late last night, during the height of the party, undercover Palm Springs Police Officers began making arrests for underage drinking, at Tabu night club.

"Out of 33 arrests for underage possession, 18 of those were in the parking lot, prior to ever having entered the club. The majority of our arrests last night, had nothing to do with the nightclub," said Palm Springs Police Chief, Mark Hall.

An additional 15 arrests for underage possession took place inside the club, and one bartender was arrested for selling to an undercover officer. Meanwhile, back in the parking lot, the teens were photographed with their liquor of choice, some even posing for the cameras.

"My highest level of concern is when I have a 16 or 17 year old, blowing a .25, .22, or .174. Once you start getting close to that .3 range, you are looking at alcohol poisoning," said Hall.

Lake Worth resident Gwendolyn Bernhard believes that young people across the county are putting themselves in danger with their behavior. She recently started a website, dedicated to helping kids talk through their problems, hopefully avoiding a trip in the back of a squad car.

"What happened at Tabu is sad. It means that kids are stopping themselves from progressing in life. Life is more important than anything," said Bernhard, her sentiments, echoed by police.

"This is about changing the culture of a group of young people who think it's okay to do this, not thinking about all those collateral issues that occur. The sexual batteries, the robberies, the assaults," said Hall.

Despite a generally positive assessment of their security by the Palm Springs Police, the owners of Tabu nightclub refused to comment on last night's arrests.

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