Greenwich Police: With Kids Home From College, Bear in Mind “The Social Host Law”

Screen-Shot-2015-06-16-at-1.57.08-PMThe upcoming holidays include the use of alcohol as part of the celebration plans in many family traditions.   National surveys have found that the vast majority of high school teens report obtaining alcohol at their home with or without their parent’s permission. With older siblings home from college, parents should be mindful of teenagers and young adults under the age of 21 having an increased opportunity to obtain alcohol.

It’s a vulnerable time of life as older teens manage their lives between childhood and adulthood and learn to live independently from the family while away at college.  For those young adults, there are socially difficult choices to make whether to start using alcohol or drugs.

The Greenwich Police Department is reminding parents and other responsible adults, that anyone exercising dominion of any property that you have a legal responsibility to stop anyone under the age of 21 to possess alcohol on your property. You may also be criminally and civilly responsible for any crime or injury that happens once that alcohol was consumed by anyone under the age of 21. C.G.S. 30-89a(a)(1)(a) No person having possession of, or exercising DOMINION OR CONTROL over, any dwelling unit or private property shall (1) knowingly permit any minor to possess alcoholic liquor.

Some party guidelines which may help you to keep your older teens safe and underage parties alcohol-free:


  • Prepare your teenager for the possibility that uninvited guests may arrive when you are away.  Your teen should know where to reach you, another responsible adult or the police.
  • Be awake when your child returns home and greets them.  Look out for signs of alcohol and drug use.
  • Make a plan with your child to call you if they discover alcohol at a party.
  • Make sure your child calls you if they plan on leaving the party to go somewhere else.


  • Plan the activity with your teen and discuss who is invited.
  • Have a responsible adult at the door to enforce the guest list.
  • Have sufficient, responsible chaperones.
  •   Be visible and circulate through the party often.
  • No one should leave the party and then return.
  • Don’t allow water bottles and backpacks into the party.
  • Call the parent if a teen brings alcohol.
  • Establish areas of the house that are off-limits.
  • Lock liquor and medicine cabinets.


  • Don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs;  You can call Safe Rides a Non-profit organization  with an office in Greenwich  Phone: (203) 869-8445
  • Don’t drink something if you are unsure of its origin/contents; many drinks can be spiked with drugs that can render you unconscious.
  • Stay in groups; don’t let a friend walk off with someone if they have been drinking.
  • If one of your friends makes a mistake, don’t make it worse by leaving someone alone who may pass out. Call a responsible adult and 911 immediately if you suspect alcohol poisoning.  You may be saving a life.

See also: Greenwich Special Victims Sergeant Zuccerella Talks Teen Risky Behavior

Kids in Crisis: If Drinking is a Rite of Passage, Conversation Should Be Too


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