The end of the school year brings several opportunities for families and friends to celebrate our youth. Many families are eager to host after-prom parties, and graduation celebrations to welcome in the summer. While these celebrations make for great memories and family fun, they can also cause concern for those who worry about the availability of alcoholic beverages to their underage youth.
As a friendly reminder to the community, the Fort Bend Community Prevention Coalition encourages families to play it safe and avoid social hosting during celebrations. Social hosting, also known as “The Cool Mom Law,” is when adults knowingly allow a minor (who is not their own child) to consume alcohol or use other drugs within their private residence, land or secured property. Social hosting can also take place when adults are not on the premises and did not provide the alcohol, but allowed the party to take place.
While it may be common practice for some individuals to provide youth with access to alcohol, underage drinking is against the law. It’s also against the law to make alcohol available to a person younger than 21 (other than your child or spouse) even in your own home and with their parent’s permission. If you break the law, you face a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days upon conviction.
See the effects of underage drinking
View the video, The Unconscious Truth, created by the Texas Young Lawyers Association to educate students and parents on the signs of alcohol poisoning and the legal and physical consequences associated with binge drinking. The video is inspired by actual events that took place at a house party.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that more than 80 percent of children say parents are the leading influence in their decision to drink or not. Most six-year-olds know that alcohol is only for adults, but between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to think differently about alcohol. Many children begin to think underage drinking is acceptable, and some even start to experiment at an early age.
What you can do:
• Talk to your children about underage drinking.
• Refuse to supply alcohol to youth.
• Supervise your youth parties.
• Make sure that alcohol is not brought into your home on onto your property by your child’s friends.
• Create alcohol-free activities in your home.
• Report underage drinking by calling the anonymous, toll-free hotline at 1-888-THE-TABC (1-888-843-8222).
“I am excited to see the Fort Bend Community Prevention Coalition spreading awareness on the issue of social hosting and advocating real solutions on what can be viewed as ‘private’ issues,” said Deputy Jerome Ellis, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “A cool mom doesn’t break the law, but is engaged with her youth and demonstrates productive decision making when it comes to youth.”
Join the Fort Bend Community Prevention Coalition in spreading awareness of the consequences of underage drinking and social hosting. Doing so may help save lives. For more information on Texas Underage Drinking Laws, visit the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s websites at www.tabc.state.tx.us/ or www.2young2drink.com/.
The Fort Bend Community Prevention Coalition, formed by Fort Bend ISD’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools division and the Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse, Inc., is comprised of individuals and organizations that support drug-free youth. The coalition’s mission is to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse by building healthy school and community environments. Coalition members represent 12 sectors of the community, including civic or volunteer, community, business, government, healthcare, media, parent, religious, school, youth-serving, and other organizations involved in reducing substance abuse.