Ellisville passes social hosting ordinance to address underage drinking

CPP aims to curb adolescent consumption of alcohol through strict penalties

%E2%80%9CSocial+Host+Ordinances+are+an+evidence-based+strategy+for+reducing+underages+access+to+alcohol.+It+works+best+if+all+the+cities+in+an+area+have+one+and+that+the+local+police+enforce+it+and+that+parents+and+adults+know+about+the+ordinance.+If+it%27s+the+standard+everywhere%2C+we%27ll+see+underage+access+to+alcohol+go+down%2C%E2%80%9D+Lilli+Schliesser%2C+Project+Coordinator+for+CPP+said.+

Sophia Scheller

“Social Host Ordinances are an evidence-based strategy for reducing underages access to alcohol. It works best if all the cities in an area have one and that the local police enforce it and that parents and adults know about the ordinance. If it’s the standard everywhere, we’ll see underage access to alcohol go down,” Lilli Schliesser, Project Coordinator for CPP said.

Vijay Viswanathan, Ad Manager

The Social Hosting ordinance allows for the City of Ellisville to prosecute for situations where adults have parties and provide alcohol to underage drinkers or host parties that result in fighting, destruction of property after having been warned,” Ellisville police chief, Steve Lewis, said. 

The City of Ellisville has passed what is known as the “Social Hosting Ordinance” in response to parties that get out of control and cause ramifications that can involve legal issues.

The ordinance was passed with help from the Community Partners in Prevention (CPP), formerly the Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition. Wildwood and Clarkson Valley have similar ordinances as well. Lili Schliesser is the Project Coordinator of CPP. 

“We have been encouraging cities within the Rockwood School District to pass these [social hosting] ordinances for years. We reached out to Chief Lewis, who was in Chesterfield when they passed their ordinance, so he was familiar with it and was able to make the recommendation to the city council,” Schliesser said. 

This ordinance adds a section to the Ellisville city code that would strengthen the current social hosting laws already in place. A violation of the ordinance could lead to fines for offenders. Parents can also be held accountable, even if they didn’t know about underage drinking occurring on their property. 

Ellisville’s ordinance states that property owners are responsible for the occurrence of loud or unruly gatherings on private property over which they have possession or control are at fault for failing to ensure that alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are not available or served to any underage individuals.

“Misdemeanor charges for the criminal penalty are no different, the addition is for the pursuit of reimbursement for the cost of police and fire services associated with such a response,” Lewis said. 

Schliesser believes these ordinances are the best way to prevent alcohol from falling into the hands of teenagers. 

Social Host Ordinances are an evidence-based strategy for reducing underage access to alcohol. It works best if all the cities in an area have one and that the local police enforce it and that parents and adults know about the ordinance. If it’s the standard everywhere, we’ll see underage access to alcohol go down,” Schliesser said. 

The ordinance also makes the penalties more strict than they are at the moment. 

“The purpose is to make the penalty for providing underage illegal alcohol to minors more severe, thus curbing the number of incidences of occurrence,” Lewis said. 

Social Hosting Ordinances have been around for years, already on the books in multiple states and cities. 

“If the underage drinking took place in a minor’s home, even if the minor’s parents were not present and did not provide the alcohol, the minor’s parents may potentially be held liable if they knew or should have known that an underage party would occur,” Schliesser said, “These laws have been passed at state and local levels for years. They are a part of the environmental strategies employed to reduce underage access to alcohol. I do not know how long they’ve been around, but here at CPP we’ve been working with local cities to pass them for the last 15 years.”