Since 2001, any minor who receives a summons for consumption or possession of an alcoholic beverage has to appear in court and attend a three-week educational series held at LBMC. They’re also required to return to court and tell the judge what was learned, according to the city’s website, at which point the charges may be dismissed. If a youth does not appear, however, a bench warrant is issued.
Five years later, the social host law was passed to hold adults accountable for allowing underage drinking on their premises. Vining said that the ordinance in Long Beach has become the “prototype” for other municipalities throughout the state. Thirteen counties and 30 municipalities have passed social law since Long Beach passed its ordinance — in Nassau County, a social host violation is a misdemeanor — and Vining said that six counties are currently working on implementing the program.
“The real point is the kids have consistently told us that where they drink the most is at parties or at other people’s houses and that’s what social host is designed to address,” she said. “What we hope is that it serves as a deterrent, and the next parent who thinks about allowing underage drinking at a party is going to say, ‘I don’t want to be in a local newspaper.’”