As summer comes into full swing and graduation parties and other festivities take place where alcohol and minors could both be present, Annie Colonna, the Director of Prevention Services at the Warwick Valley Community Center, would like to remind the residents of Warwick of the Social Host Law. Enacted in March of 2016 by the Orange County Legislature, the Social Host Law was created to deter anyone under the age of 21 from breaking the law by consuming alcohol with the permission of a legal adult.
More than 80 percent of young people ages 10 to 18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision to drink or not drink. So they really are listening and it’s important that you send a clear and strong message.
The law holds anyone who is 18 or older responsible for hosting a party where alcohol is present with heavy fines and possible jail time for repeat offenders. The law states that first time offenders of the law are subjected to a $500 fine and a court ordered completion of an alcohol awareness program and/or an appropriate amount of community service.
A second time offense to the law would then constitute an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and a jail term, not to exceed one year, or both a fine and imprisonment.
Ms. Colonna says that breaking the law is very preventable. She recommends that parents limit the amount of alcohol present in their home to make sure there’s a limitation to access for underage individuals, as well as making sure that they are supervised.
Call Ryan Caldwell, the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition Coordinator at 986-6422 if you need help in speaking to your children. Our mission is to reduce alcohol and marijuana abuse among youth and to prevent initiation into all drug use by encouraging wise and healthy decisions by all community members. We meet the fourth Thurs. of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Warwick Valley Community Center, located at 11 Hamilton Ave. in Warwick.