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Hopkinton Police and Public Schools Remind Community of Social Host Liability

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Police Chief Joseph Bennett, Hopkinton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Cavanaugh and High School Principal Evan Bishop wish to remind Hopkinton residents about the state’s social host law.

Social Host Liability is the legal term for the responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest. A Social Host is anyone who is in control of the premises and who furnishes alcohol or allows it to be consumed on those premises.

Parents and adults can face fines, jail time or both if they provide alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. Minors can also face punishment for hosting parties at their parent’s homes without their knowledge.

State law says that anyone who provides alcohol to a person under 21 years old can be fined up to $2,000 and face up to a year in prison.

“We encourage residents to be mindful of the Social Host law and to be aware that there are consequences for serving alcohol to minors,” Chief Bennett said. “We want everyone to be safe during celebrations and gatherings, and making safe decisions like not furnishing alcohol to minors is an important part of that.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), parents/guardians are encouraged to talk with their children about alcohol and the risks involved, and to set and enforce clear rules about alcohol and drug use. Parents can also help to build their child’s skills and strategies for avoiding drinking and drug use, and help them plan how to get out of risky situations.

Parents can also make an effort to get to know the parents of their children’s friends, and share rules and expectations about things like alcohol use.

“We encourage parents to have ongoing conversations about the risks of underage alcohol and drug use, and their expectations regarding those topics,” Principal Bishop said. “You can also help your child make safe choices by setting a good example, being involved, and being available for them to talk to about what’s going on in their life.”

Learn more about talking with kids about alcohol here.

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