Underage Drinking: Success Stories



Drinking: Success Stories




– August 19, 2003



of Problem










With support from the OJJDP

Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws Initiative, community organizations, enforcement agencies, youth, and other concerned citizens are working collaboratively to

change local ordinances and enforcement practices.


Social Host Law Passed in Hawaii

This past spring, Hawaii enacted a social host liability law for

adults providing alcohol to minors under the age of 21, joining 31 other

states that have already adopted similar laws. The new law resulted from

the determined efforts of MADD-Hawaii?s staff, volunteers, and members of

the Hawaii Partnership to Prevent Underage Drinking representing all the

Hawaiian Islands to substantiate the State of Hawaii?s commitment to deter

underage drinking and to assign responsibility to adults who promote this

illegal behavior.

According to Donna Gutierrez, MADD-Hawaii, several legislators were

willing to propose the bill in order to ?send a wake-up call? to parents

and adults who take lightly the dangers and risks teens pose to themselves

and others when they drink, especially when they drink and drive.. Several

recent crashes involving teens who had been drinking at parent-hosted

parties highlighted the need for a law that would hold adults accountable

when they buy or provide alcohol to minors.

Beginning in the fall of 2002, MADD-Hawaii and other organizations began

to work with legislators to write a social host bill and to organize

grassroots support for the law on each of the islands. When the

legislative session began in 2003, MADD-Hawaii and Hawaii Partnership

members hit the ground running. Using data from surveys that showed the

majority of Hawaiian teens obtain their alcohol from adults, MADD-Hawaii?s

Youth in Action team implemented a public information campaign through the

media and testified in committee hearings. During the process, they

gathered support from key legislators, police officers, and county, and

State officials including Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona. Several articles

appeared in Honolulu?s two daily newspapers.

Their efforts paid off; in April, both houses of the State legislature

passed the bill. On May 20, 2003, Governor Linda Lingle signed the bill

into law during a ceremony at a waterfront memorial for victims of

drunk-driving crashes in Honolulu. The social host liability law was

effective immediately.

The social host liability law establishes criminal penalties of up to one

year in jail, fines of up to $1000, or both, for adults who furnish

alcoholic beverages to anyone younger than age 21. The previous law only

prohibited adults from buying alcohol for minors. Under the new law,

adults who ?knowingly? provide liquor to someone younger than age 21 or

have knowledge of underage drinking on their property and could have

prevented it can be held financially responsible for any third party

injury that may ensue from their provision.

After working tirelessly to get the law passed, MADD-Hawaii and the Hawaii

Partnership to Prevent Underage Drinking are embarking on the toughest

part of their effort ? educating the public. The message will be carried

to all the islands through volunteers and the Hawaii Partnership to

Prevent Underage Drinking County Coalitions. , The strategy is to wage a

media campaign through television, radio, and local newspapers. They also

plan to pass out brochures and coordinate discussion sessions in schools.

The resounding message from MADD-Hawaii is, ?Providing alcohol to minors

is a serious ? and even deadly ? practice. Parents and other adults need

to know that now they can be held both criminally and civilly responsible.

It?s the law.?

For more information, contact

Donna Gutierrez MADD-Hawaii 700 Bishop Street

#1111 Honolulu, HI 96813

[email protected]

808.532.6752or Alan Yamamoto Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division(808) 692-7540




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