This law holds people accountable for knowingly providing an environment where underage drinking is occurring, such as on property they own, rent, or lease. These people are called social hosts – people who host a party or who own or control the property where underage drinking parties occur.
Whereas certain laws prohibit the act of providing alcoholic beverages to underage persons, social host laws target the location where underage drinking takes place. Social host laws often include language such as, “no person who owns, rents, leases, or controls private property shall knowingly allow an underage person to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage anywhere on the private property under their control.”
Since it is difficult to prove someone knowingly allowed underage drinking to occur, social host ordinances are often written to target adults who fail to use reasonable precaution to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.
What is this strategy?
Social Host Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions
Catalog of Prevention Strategies (Social Host Liability)
Has this strategy been proven to be effective?
Report: Teens Less Likely to Drink if Their Communities Have Strong Social Hosting Laws
When should I consider implementing this strategy?
- Youth drinking at house parties, college parties, parents’ home, etc.
- Youth drinking alcohol in rural areas such as fields, lakes, etc.
- Youth drinking on private property such as hotels, apartments, etc.
How do I implement this strategy?
Key activities for implementation:
- Review current state and local laws.
- Understand and be able to communicate how a social host liability law is different from what is currently in place (Dram Shop). and how this law can prevent underage drinking.
- Provide information and build support.
- Draft policy and work to pass ordinance requiring training.
- Work with policy makers.
Social Host Liability Implementation Toolkit (FACE)
A How-To Guide to Implementing a Social Host Ordinance in Your Community
Ohio Toolkit for Implementing a Social Host Ordinance
Have others implemented this strategy?
North Dakota communities:
- Grand Forks Social Host Ordinance and City Council Processes.
- “Grand Forks City Council passes alcohol ordinance banning ‘extreme drink specials’” (Article, Grand Forks Herald).