With the weather warming up and prom and graduation events, there is a lot of celebrating around town. The Mill Valley Police Department would like to take this opportunity to remind the community of the Social Host Accountability Ordinance (SHAO). The SHAO basically states an adult may be cited and fined for the alcohol use by youths at their home or under their supervision.
Mill Valley adopted this ordinance in March of 2008, joining other Marin County areas already on board or in the process of adding this ordinance. The SHAO has become an important tool by which communities are changing norms and tackling the problem of teen binge drinking. The Marin County Division of Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco Programs in partnership with the Youth Leadership Institute has published reports on usage of the ordinance, how to increase the effectiveness of the law and implementation by city with costs and fines listed.
The Marin County Youth Leadership Institute's "Youth Access to Alcohol and Marijuana Survey" published the following findings on SHAO in 2012:
- House parties are where youth drink. Over 73% of young people in Marin reported they most often drink alcohol at home with friends, at parties or other social events.
- It is a proven prevention tool. A good SHAO policy can act as a deterrent to help stop underage drinking parties before they case harm.
- It takes the pressure off youth. It has become the norm to drink at parties. With an SHAO, youth doesn't have to make the decision of drinking to fit in or not going to parties.
- It holds adults accountable. Providing alcohol to a minor is illegal. Enforcing the SHAO requires the help of parents and the greater community.
- It is a tool for parents. The SHAO provides talking points for a difficult conversation.
Please contact the Mill Valley Police Department with questions/concerns at 389.4100.