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Report underage drinking toll-free anonymously. Don't provide alcohol to minors. "Paul's Law" established the new crime of "unlawfully hosting."

Date: 8/29/2008

Posted by Preferred Family Healthcare on 7/10/2008


Source:Quarterly publication of the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office Summer 2008 Volume I Issue III  (Third Quarter The Pulse Page 2)
"Paul’s Law" established the new crime of "unlawfully hosting" minors

Law looks to curb underage drinking

Kansas Law States: It is illegal for anyone

  1. 	Under 21 to purchase, or attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol.
  2. 	To furnish alcohol to persons under 21.
  3. 	To permit property owned, rented, or otherwise controlled by them to be used for the consumption of alcohol by minors.

Alcohol-related crashes are the number one cause of death for teens.  But the problem doesn’t start when youth get behind the wheel, it starts when teens are provided with alcohol illegally.On average, Kansas youth begin drinking alcohol regu

larly at about age 14. Research indicates they primarily obtain it from their parents (with or without their knowledge or consent) or from another adult. In 2004, Kansas passed a social hosting law known as Paul’s Law, named for Paul Riggs, a Lenexa teen killed while driving home from a friend’s party where he and other teens had been drinking. The friend’s parents had been home during the party while the minors drank alcohol. To protect teens, Kansas’ social hosting law established a new crime of "unlawfully hosting" where persons under the age of 18 consume alcoholic beverages. The crime is now a Class A misdemeanor that carries a minimum fine of $1,000 and could result in up to a year of jail time for the offenders. During the 2007 Legislative session the law was changed to define a minor as "under the age of 21" instead of 18, which prevents confusion about the legality to serve alcohol to underage individuals, despite their "adult" status. Kansas law states no person under 21 years of age shall possess, consume, obtain, purchase or attempt to obtain or purchase alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages except as authorized by law. The law also states that directly or indirectly selling to, buying for, giving or furnishing any alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage to any minor is illegal.

Despite these laws, according to research from the Kansas Department of Transportation in 2006, 47 percent of Kansas high school students had attended a party within the last month where alcohol was served.

According to information from the Kansas Family Partnership, about 18 percent of teens reported their parents don’t have clear rules about alcohol and other drugs.Parents can do their part by establishing firm rules about alcohol for their teens. Parents should talk with their teens about their responsible expectations and discuss guidelines and boundaries for their teens.

Parents should encourage open communication about alcohol and drugs and know where teens are and who they’re with. Have a teen check in regularly from a landline if staying with friends and let your teen know that drinking alcohol is not acceptable at any time.

Individuals as well can each do something simple to protect youth.

Don’t provide alcohol to minors and report underage drinking toll-free and anonymously at 866-MUST-B-21 (1-866-687-8221).