January 19, 2011 Edition

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Coalition workign to remind
residents about new law



Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson places a yard sign on the lawn at the Courthouse in Walnut Ridge as part of the local ATOD Coalition's campaign to promote the county's social host law.
Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The Lawrence County ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) Coalition is working to inform residents about state and county laws that restrict the serving of alcohol to minors.

In July, on the heels of a new state law, the Lawrence County Quorum Court passed a law that prohibits adults from serving alcohol to minors, even if they are related to them.

While parents cannot be restricted from giving alcohol to their own children, the local law does prevent them from serving it to other related minors. It also states that a parent can only give alcohol to their child if the child remains in their presence during consumption.

Alison Oglesby, ATOD project director, said social host ordinances provide a tool for law enforcement officials to hold adults accountable when dealing with alcohol and minors.

In addition to serving alcohol, knowingly providing a place for underage drinking is also an offense under the social host law.

Violators of the law will face a $500 fine for first offenses and a $1,000 fine for second offenses, as well as possible further charges through the prosecuting attorney.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson said the law is another way to prevent underage drinking.

"It is a way to protect our children," he said. "It's a deterrent to adults considering giving alcohol to kids."

Oglesby said the coalition is now working to ensure that residents are aware the law is in effect.

Among promotional tools being used by the organization are new yard signs that proclaim "Parents Who Host Lose the Most: Don't be a party to teenage drinking."

Coalition members are asking residents to place the signs in their yards. Drawings will be held each month among the individuals who take a yard sign.

"If we draw your name and we come by your house and you have your sign displayed in your yard, you will win a $25 gas card," Oglesby said.

The first giveaway will be held in February. Those who would like to participate can contact Oglesby at 870-759-1914 or 886-7717 or through e-mail at alisonoglesby@yahoo.com.

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