OSU Prevention Programs
In Okmulgee County, almost 39 percent of high school seniors have reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, and 21 percent of those seniors who are drinking are binge drinking according to the 2016 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA). When reviewing data for substance abuse issues, in Okmulgee County, underage drinking is one of the most pressing issues.
Underage drinking has many detrimental effects. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “underage drinking contributes to a wide range of costly health and social problems, including injury and death from motor vehicle crashes, interpersonal violence (such as homicides, assaults, and rapes), unintentional injuries (such as burns, falls, and drowning), brain impairment, alcohol dependence, risky sexual activity, academic problems, and alcohol and drug poisoning.” Allowing youth to drink alcohol is setting them up to have many long lasting consequences such as permanent danger to their still developing brains, alcoholism, unintended pregnancies, and even death.
For the most part, Okmulgee County Seniors are not purchasing or stealing the alcohol they are consuming. Adults are providing the alcohol to them. The OPNA shows that seniors in the county are drinking at a friend’s house 70% of the time, and 53% of the time the alcohol is provided by someone they know who is 21 or older.
Parents and other adults in the community need to realize the dangers of providing alcohol to youth as well as the legal consequences. In November 2011, Cody’s Law, also known as the Social Host Law, went into effect. This law makes it illegal for someone to provide the place for youth to drink. This includes not only in your home, but also anywhere on your property.
The first offense of the Social Host Law is punishable by a $500 fine. The fine increases with the second offence and with the third offence it becomes a felony charge. If someone is injured or killed as a result of the underage drinking party, the host may also be charged with a felony.
Please do your part to prevent underage drinking, by not allowing youth a place to have drinking parties. If you are aware of an underage drinking party, please contact your local law enforcement. If you would like more information about the Social Host Law visit www.oklahomasocialhost.com, or call the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), who is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) at 918-756-1248.