Affluenza Debate: Is it really an illness? - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Affluenza Debate: Is it really an illness?

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A recent DUI case involving a Texas teen guilty of killing four people while driving drunk has become a national talking point.

Now Texomans are weighing in on the debate.Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced ten years probation for driving drunk and killing four people. 

A judge’s decision to only give the teen probation has sparked a debate not only about the ruling in the case, but also the term “affluenza” used by a psychologist who testified in the case. Beforehand,

The psychologist who testified in the case stated that Couch suffered from an illness called affluenza. But people question whether affluenza is an actual illness.

“It has been used to describe a condition in which children – generally from richer families – have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol,” said Dr. Gary Buffone, a psychologist interviewed by CBS. 

Buffone is just one of many health experts commenting on this ruling, but locals here in Texoma are just shocked by the ruling. 

“To make up a mental illness, if they will, of ‘affluenza,’ I think it’s ridiculous,” said Jazman Patterson. “People need to take responsibility for their actions, as well as parents need to take responsibility for the way that they raise their kids."

"Drinking and driving should be cracked down on more, and I don't think enough restrictions are put on that," said Deborah Walls, a Texoma resident.

"I think it’s pitiful that you can use money as an excuse for that kind of behavior. I think anyone else in that situation would be having serious consequences,” said Jazman.

“It’s awful that anybody should die because somebody drinking and driving, but because someone's parents have more money than someone else's does not mean it needs to be blown off by any means,” said Amanda Davis, a Texoma resident.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6