Why you need to say no to being a social host
It’s your turn to say “no”.
After talking to teens about saying “no” to underage drinking, you need to commit to saying “no” to being a social host. We understand that social hosts often have good intentions; they believe that they can control the amount of alcohol consumed or that their supervision can keep the teens at the party safe—but that is just not the case.
As MADD states, “hosting at home doesn’t change the facts or lessen the dangers. Underage drinking is a major public health issue and cause for concern.”
What is social hosting?
A “social host” is any adult who hosts a gathering where alcohol is served to minors on property they control (such as a home they own or an apartment/condo they rent). Through social host liability laws, adults can be held responsible if underage people are served, regardless of who furnishes the alcohol.
Social host ordinances give communities a practical tool for holding adults accountable and, although consequences vary by location, more than 150 cities or counties and 24 states have adopted social host ordinances.
The risks of social hosting
Teen years mark the time when young people display rapid increases in both physical and mental capabilities; their brains mature, their reaction time increases and reasoning abilities improve. But, there are some downsides to being young and having a developing brain.
Scientific research has proven that adolescents lack the decision-making abilities of adults and their brains may not gain full reasoning abilities until age 25-30. This lack of development makes adolescent brains especially vulnerable to the consequences of risk-taking behavior and when alcohol is added to the equation, the risk is even greater for teens to make poor, possibly dangerous, decisions
Examples of risks:
- traffic crashes
- property damage
- community disturbance
- risky sexual behavior and sexual assault
- accidental injuries due to falls or poor judgement
21 for a reason
As MADD explores in their social hosting brochure, the science is clear, the earlier drinking starts, the more danger it poses. People reporting first used of alcohol before age 15 were more than five times more likely to have past year alcohol dependence or abuse compared with people who first used alcohol at age 21 or older
How you can do more
Have you talked to your kids about alcohol but feel called to do more to prevent underage drinking? We know the feeling! Join us at one of our Alcohol Prevention Project workgroups. We have groups across the state of Georgia working with schools, parents, law enforcement, city leadership and youth to prevent underage drinking and we could use your help!
(Image Copyright: Iakov Filimonov)