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July 4, 2014

Oklahoma Social Host law to deter those providing alcohol to minors

— The fireworks are out from the Fourth of July, leaving circles of ash from black snakes, pincushion yards of sparklers and shells of roman candles.

Dang kids, right?

Those whose long weekend celebrations include providing a place for people under 21 to drink alcohol could find more of a mess on their hands than a poorly timed firecracker.

Oklahoma Social Host law means Oklahoma residents are responsible for keeping the minors in their home and on their property from drinking alcohol.

If kids under age 21 are drinking alcohol at a gathering, and a resident is providing the location for that gathering, they are responsible–whether the host is an adult or a minor, and whether they rent, own or simply provide the location, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

According to an online campaign at oklahomasocialhost.com, the following applies to Oklahoma Social Host law:

    •    Property owners are accountable

    •    The social host does not have to be physically present or the actual property owner

    •    Fines are immediate and carry a first time offense of up to $500

    •    Adults and minors are accountable

    •    If someone is injured or killed because of a social host violation, or if someone receives three strikes, that person can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $2,500

Oklahoma Social Host law is also known as "Cody's Law." Cody Ryan Greenhaw, 16, died in 2004 at a friends home where the parents allegedly knew alcohol and drugs were routinely used.

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