The Massachusetts Social Host Law and how it applies to You!

by Katie Bogusz on May 23, 2017

Have you ever heard of someone you know getting in trouble for serving alcohol to minors at their home or on a property they owned?  This person was probably charged under the social host law in Massachusetts.  This law makes it illegal to furnish alcohol to a person under 21.  But what does the law actually mean?  Read on to find out…

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What does it mean to Furnish Alcohol?

Furnish in this law means to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, provide, or allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21. What this essentially means is that the social host has provided, given, or allowed any of their guests who are under 21 to possess or consume alcohol on a property that they own.  This can be in the form of a party, a small gathering, or another event.

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What are the consequences of being a Social Host?

A social host is anyone (adult or minor) who is in control of the premises and who furnishes alcohol or allows it to be consumed on those premises.  The social host is the person that would be charged under the Social Host Law and they can face serious consequences for their actions.  If the law has been determined to be broken the social host can face the following consequences:

  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Imprisonment for up to a year
  • OR a combination of fines and imprisonment

Although it can be tempting for hosts of parties to provide alcohol to individuals who are under 21, it is against the law and it is unsafe.  If you are going to host a party, be aware of all guests under 21 to ensure that they are not provided alcohol.  If you plan to attend a party and you are under the age of 21, do not drink alcohol.  You are endangering the host of the party and they could face serious legal penalties because of your actions.

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BE SMART: Don’t break the law!

If you would like more information, please contact the following agencies:

  • The Massachusetts Substance Abuse Hotline: 1-800-327-5050
  • Your local police department
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health website: mass.gov/dph/bsas

To learn more about Outreach Education as well as the BSU Peer Educators: like the BSU Outreach Education page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bsuoutreach, and check out our calendar for upcoming events on the Involvement (IN) Network by visiting  https://bridgew.collegiatelink.net/ and searching for the BSU Peer Educators.

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