Before you host tonight’s party, please consider this. Under Ohio law, if you are 21 or older and you allow an underage person to drink or possess alcohol on your property, you are considered a social host, and you could face a hefty fine and even jail time. You’ll also open the door for potential lawsuits. Plus, any alcohol, money or property associated with the offense can be immediately confiscated.
BUZZKILL: Serve Under 21 and the Party’s Over, developed by Drug-Free Action Alliance, asks students to consider how ‘tonight’s party’ may impact their time in college and their future endeavors. Social hosting is a first degree misdemeanor, which can mean loss of scholarships, suspension from a sports team or other student group, or possible denial of a professional license (especially in the fields of healthcare, criminal justice, and education). And with a permanent record, this ‘mistake’ may continue to reveal itself through background checks conducted by potential employers.
BUZZKILL: Serve Under 21 and the Party’s Over dispels the myths and shares the facts about serving to those underage, including academic problems, unsafe sex, sexual abuse, injury and death. The facts are:
- 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2009)
- 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2009)
- 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2009)
- 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009)
- 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol (Wechsler et al., 2002)
BUZZKILL: Serve Under 21 and the Party’s Over educates students on ways to protect themselves and their friends with tips like refusing to supply alcohol to anyone under 21, ensuring alcohol is not in the possession of an underage person while on the host’s property, and reporting underage drinking to law enforcement.
There are many myths around hosts protecting themselves from legal liability; however, providing different colored cups, hanging up a ‘You must be 21 to drink’ sign, or fencing in an outdoor party will not protect you. Make it easier on yourself and others and do the responsible thing because if you serve under 21, the party’s over, and the headaches that will accompany it are sure to outlast the typical hangover…now that’s a BUZZKILL!