In December of 2016 the City of El Paso passed a civil Social Host Ordinance. The ordinance is set to hold adults accountable when they provide an environment where teens can drink. At the time El Paso was the first city to pass an ordinance like this in Texas followed by San Antonio.
A study done by the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation shows that 56% percent of El Paso 12th graders and 30% of 9th graders say alcohol is present at most of the parties they attend. The study also cites the Centers for Disease Control estimating the cost of underage drinking in the state of Texas at $1.8 billion dollars. If broken down by population, PDNHF says El Paso’s share amounts to $48 million dollars. This cost is for healthcare, lost productivity, criminal justice and traffic crash costs.
A meeting held on Wednesday by the Rio Grande Safe Communities and other organizations brought in a panel of experts to explain the importance of preventing underage drinking. One of the panelists says underage drinking is a problem in every community not just in El Paso.
The ordinance goes into effect this June has some fines associated with it when it is violated. For the first violation the adult will be fined $250 dollars, for the second violation $500, and the third $1,000.
A question asked at the meeting is, “what happens if a teen hosts a party when the adults are out of town?”. The answer to the question is the adult will receive a warning the first time but if it happens again they will be fined.