Ventura County Sheriff "Social Host" (Underage Drinking) Ordinance Message

Community Safety Message from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Summer is almost upon us and schools will be closing their doors for a well-deserved vacation. Experience tells us that we will experience an increase in daytime residential burglaries, more unsightly graffiti and many “party disturbing” calls.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about those parties and the potentially lethal combination of teenagers and alcohol. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the end of the school year with an evening of fun with family and friends. However, too often these events end in tragedy. Alcohol consumption and binge drinking in combination with prescription drugs are the most common cause of overdose for teenagers in the community.

Some parents want to be “cool” by permitting their children and their friends to consume alcohol while throwing a party in the home. Other parents rationalize their behavior by arguing that teenagers will find alcohol elsewhere if they don’t allow it at home. Concerned parents do not abandon their parental responsibility while placing their teens and the community at risk in this way.

Several years ago, Ventura County Ordinance 6113 was passed to combat this problem. Also known as the Social Host Ordinance, individuals responsible for the party can be held accountable, even if they didn’t personally buy the alcohol, for “hosting” the party. Should deputies be called to respond to an underage drinking incident on property you own, lease or otherwise control, you could be cited and required to pay a fine of $1000. If this is not incentive enough to discourage such conduct, imagine being the parent who permits underage drinking that leads to a tragic death when one of the partygoers crashes on the way home forfeiting their life of that of other innocents.

Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers will be vigorously enforcing these laws throughout the summer. Remember, it is fun to celebrate the end of the school year, just do so legally and responsibly so your teenager can attend the first day of the next school year.

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