Parents who host, lose the most

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:50

NEWTON — The Center for Prevention and Counseling kicked off their Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign at the Lamp Post Inn in Vernon on Nov. 29 to run through the holiday season and beyond. The event was attended by local officials, school representatives, law enforcement officials and members of the community. The purpose of the campaign is to reduce youth access to alcohol and to make parents and adults aware of the legal consequences of serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. A wide range of speakers attended the event, including Hopatcong Police Chief John Swanson. George Morville of The Morville Agency talked about the liability implications should an adult be found guilty of serving those under 21. Morville said that if an adult is found guilty of the crime, an insurance company may drop that policy holder and not insure against any injury to people or property. Morville advised that homeowners read the fine print on their insurance policies for details on how insurance companies handle coverage when a guilty verdict of this nature is imposed. Attorney and prosecutor, Jonathan E. McMeen of Laddy, Clark and Ryan, spoke about the legal consequences of the crime. In New Jersey, fines of up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail per person served can be levied. Also, if in serving an underage person alcohol an injury results, the adult found responsible may be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, subject to a fine of up to $15,000 and five years in state prison. New Jersey law also imposes civil liability on hosts who serve alcohol to anyone under 21 if that person is subsequently involved in a fatal incident. Becky Carlson, Assistant Director for the Center for Prevention & Counseling, gave tips on how to host a successful party for their kids and how parents can keep from being deceived. Carlson advised creating a guest list with attendance by written invitation only (no email invites), staying home, refusing to allow alcohol, not allowing guests back in if they left, and making regular, unobtrusive visits to the party area. The Center for Prevention and Counseling, in partnership with the Sussex County Coalition for Health and Safe Communities, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the County of Sussex Municipal Alliance, said the message will be delivered to the public via lawn signs, banners hung at municipal buildings, mirror and window clings in businesses, school buses and places of worship, cards placed on tables in restaurants, at school functions, hotel rooms, labels placed on pizza boxes and fact sheets distributed through schools, sporting events and PTA meetings. "We hope to flood the county with the logo and the message that parents who host lose the most," said Carlson. "The feedback and response has already been incredible. It was so encouraging to see representatives from all over the county come to help us kickoff the campaign.”