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If It’s At Your House, You’re On The Hook

Know the Law:  Buying, serving, or supplying alcohol to anyone under 21 is against the law.  M.G.L. Chapter 138 section 34 “whoever furnishes any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both.”

Know the Facts:

  • Adults will be criminally charged if they allow minors to consume alcohol in their home whether they are home or not or are aware of what is going on.
  • If an underage guest drinks in your home or in a hotel room reserved by you and injury or death occurs, you and that guest, could be sued and found liable.  You could be forced to pay the entire amount in damages that the underage guest can not afford to pay.  Recent cases have been over $1,000,000.
  • In Massachusetts, an 18 year old who breaks the law would appear in ADULT COURT, not juvenile court.
  • You may not be covered by your home-owners insurance in cases of injury or death.
  • If your child is arrested, he or she is not eligible for federal scholarship aid and his/her college admission can be jeopardized.  Alcohol related violations could result in exclusion from school activities including any sports they play, clubs participated in, or even graduation ceremonies.

What you can do:

  • Tell your teens your stance on underage drinking and substance use/abuse. Have clear consequences for broken rules.
  • Be a good role model.
  • Ask other parents their stance on alcohol use in their home. Especially those homes that your child hangs out at frequently. Don’t assume other parents have the same view.
  • Talk to your children about the health risks involved with underage drinking and drug use.
  • Know -WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN. Inspect backpacks, coolers and vehicles for alcohol before your child leaves the house.
  • Create a plan for what to do in a risky situation such as texting or calling using a code word.
  • Be awake when they come home. Talk to them face to face.

Source: Information provided by mass.gov

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