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MISSISSIPPI ADULTS HELD LIABLE FOR SOCIAL HOSTING … A STATEWIDE RESPONSE
MISSISSIPPI ADULTS HELD LIABLE FOR SOCIAL HOSTING … A STATEWIDE RESPONSE

Senator David Blount, from the 29th District, says, "Another part of this is changing the culture and making sure that adults understand that it's not acceptable; that it's not cool; that you can't be looking the other way because when you have parties and minors with alcohol a lot of times there are car accidents and a number of bad things that can happen."


 Representative Richard Bennett, in collaboration with the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force, created and presented a bill on social hosting to the MS legislature in 2009. Although the bill died at committee level in 2009, it has been reintroduced yearly. The Task Force partnered with its statewide coalition, Mississippians Advocating Against Underage Drinking (MAAUD) to raise awareness of social hosting. MAAUD is comprised of 14 coalitions and seven participating state agencies.  In 2010, the bill was reintroduced by Representative Bennett and Senator Blount. 


With this renewed attention on social hosting and the passage of the bill, legislative strategies were employed to ensure its success. The MS Department of Mental Health stepped in to provide valuable legislative assistance to MAAUD on how to effectively advocate for the bill, reach legislators, and inform the public. Strategies utilized included:

Flyers about social hosting were placed on desks of Senators;

The media (television, newspaper, and radio) educated the public on the issue;

MAAUD hosted three local advocacy breakfasts’ in south, central and north Mississippi. Youth, parents, and prevention professionals were spokespersons at these breakfasts.

A rally, involving parents and youth, was held on the Capitol steps; and

MAAUD kept members and the public informed via its FACEBOOK page.  

The bill received unanimous support from the MS legislature and was signed into law on March 30, 2011. It will become effective July 1.


The Social Host Law holds adults liable for knowingly allowing parties to occur at a private residence or on private premises.  Violation of this law is a criminal misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.

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