By Craig Day, The News On 6
CLAREMORE, OK -- Officers and child advocacy groups are praising Claremore's new social host ordinance. It's a measure that prohibits grown-ups from providing alcohol to underage drinkers.
Even after 20 years in law enforcement, Claremore Assistant Police Chief Stan Brown is still surprised when parents or other adults provide alcohol for underage drinkers.
"It's been my experience that's just a recipe for disaster," said Claremore Assistant Chief of Police Stan Brown.
So, Brown is glad Claremore has become the latest city, 62 statewide, to enact a social host law which prohibits adults from providing alcohol to minors.
"I do think it was necessary. I think it's important we emphasize the issue at hand here," said Claremore Assistant Chief of Police Stan Brown.
Many communities, like Claremore, have passed their own ordinances in the past year.
Terri White is the Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
"I've definitely seen communities step up and take hold, because they haven't seen the leadership they've wanted out of the legislature on this particular issue," said Commissioner Terri White with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Oklahoma lawmakers enacted a social host law in 2006 making it illegal to give alcohol to a minor, but it only applies to cases where someone is injured or dies. And, low-point-beer was left out.
"It excluded 3.2 beer, which is really out of touch with what is happening with our youth," said Commissioner Terri White with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
So, a new proposal is on the table which adds 3.2 beer, and tougher penalties, ranging from a misdemeanor first offense with a $500 fine and up to a year in jail. A second offense would carry a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. A third offense would be a felony with a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
The state senate has approved the measure, but it hasn't made it out of committee in the house.
In addition to Claremore, several other communities have added their own social host ordinances, including Sand Springs, Tulsa, Bixby, Owasso, McAlester and Broken Arrow.