Underage Drinking Laws Could Get Tougher

LEXINGTON, KY -- Adults caught hosting parties where minors are allowed to drink booze will face hefty fines, and possibly jail time, if Lexington joins communities across the country that have enacted tough new underage-drinking laws, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

The laws -- often called social host ordinances -- target adults who let minors drink alcohol at their home or on their property.

"It only takes one parent in a community to set up a situation where kids are allowed to be in very risky situations with alcohol," said Ruth Staten, who chairs a committee that's rallying for a social host ordinance in Fayette County, reports the Herald-Leader.

In recent years, social host ordinances have been passed in 150 cities or counties in 21 states. And 23 states have statewide social host laws, said Stacy Saetta with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Eight communities in Kentucky have passed social host ordinances.

Social host ordinances spread rapidly after the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine released a study in 2003 that examined underage drinking and encouraged communities to strengthen laws, Saetta told the newspaper.

In December, a subcommittee was formed out of the Mayor's Alliance on Substance Abuse to discuss implementation of a social host ordinance in Fayette County, rep;orts the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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