Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

An effective “new” tactic in the war on underage drinking

According to Barrington, Rhode Island’s Police Chief John LaCross, there are many reasons why arrests for underage drinking have been falling since 2007. One of the “most effective” and interesting tactics isn’t the recent Social Host Law but one that harkens back to our non-digital age — a letter from the chief to parents when their child, who isn’t arrested, is found with minors who are cited for underage drinking.

Josh Bickford’s article in the East Bay RI news site quotes a sample letter:

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. XXXX,

“On November 22, 2006 at 6:59 PM, your son, XXXXX and others were observed on Legion Way and were disbursed from the area by our police officers. A search of the area where the group was standing resulted in the seizure of a 30-pack of Bud Light. Although your son was not formally charged with a crime, it is important as parents to know that your son was in an area where underage drinking may have been taking place.

“This letter is merely a means to communicate this information to the parents of the community in the event that you so choose to discuss this incident with your son.

“It is hopeful that better communication between the police department and parents will prevent serious consequences resulting from underage drinking. If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 437-3930.

“Sincerely, John LaCross, Chief of Police.”

That’s a big wake-up call for parents who suspect their child is in trouble but have no proof. Would receiving this letter be effective in your house?


To learn more:

Underage drinking arrests keep dropping in Barrington.  May 10, 2011 – East Bay Newspapers (www.eastbayri.com) – Byline: Josh Bickford

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