Parties where underage drinking occurs can have severe consequences. Be a part of the solution!
Texas teens report the following consequences during or after parties where alcohol is consumed:
Fighting, Violence, Driving after drinking, Unplanned sexual activity, alcohol poisoning, and sexual assault.
Teens and law enforcement report that alcohol is not the only substance present at parties. Marijuana, prescription drugs, and even illicit substances are taken in conjunction with alcohol.
The Solution: A Local Social Host Ordinance
A local social host ordinance is a civil city law that holds adults accountable (usually through fines) for underage drinking at their homes or on their property. A civil social host ordinance is much easier to enforce and often complements existing laws for furnishing alcohol to minors. Because the focus is on the location of the party rather than the alcohol provider, a social host ordinance can make it easier to intervene effectively.
Social Host Ordinances can be a good deterrent of underage drinking parties because the penalty is relatively certain and it’s imposed swiftly. The ordinance promotes adult responsibility, provides an additional tool for law enforcement to respond to unruly gatherings where underage drinking is happening, and helps us all keep our youth safe and healthy.
Who Supports a Local Social Host Ordinance?
The Institute of Medicine, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, national and local substance abuse coalitions, many local public health professionals, the Waxahachie Police Department, WISD School Board, and a growing group of community advocates in Waxahachie support local social host ordinances.
Components of a Social Host Ordinance
A fine imposed by the city. Civil penalties are more easily enforced than criminal penalties because they require a lower burden of proof.
The ordinance would classify parties as a public nuisance. This way, a new ordinance would easily fit in with current Waxahachie law, and the coalition can provide a model ordinance to city leadership.
COST RECOVERY OPTION
This would allow police, fire departments, and other emergency services to recover the cost incurred from responding to underage drinking parties. Most Texas cities have chosen that the cost recovery option would only apply to repeat offenders
Evidence It Works
¨ Passage of a social host ordinance results in fewer calls for service for law enforcement, over time. 1
¨ The vast majority of citations of the ordinances are issued for first offenses.2
¨ In communities where social host ordinances have been enacted, three out of four law enforcement officers report that the law is a useful tool in addressing underage drinking parties.3
¨ Communities with social host ordinances have fewer large underage drinking parties.4
1San Diego, CA. ARCHS Institute, 2009.; Petaluma, CA. Unpublished data. (1)
2Evalcorp. (2013). Social host ordinance impact evaluation: Phase II findings; 2013 Issue Brief. Ventura County Behavioral Health, Alcohol and Drug Program, Ventura County Health Care Agency. (2)
3Evalcorp (2009a). Ventura county social host ordinance impact evaluation: Phase I findings. Ventura County Behavioral Health, Alcohol and Drug Programs Prevention Services.
4Wagoner KG, Sparks M, Francisco VT, Wyrick D, Nichols T, and Wolfson M. (2013). Social host policies and underage drinking parties. Substance Use and Misuse, 48(1-2), 41-53.