ALTON, Texas – The Alton City Council passing a Civil Social Host Ordinance on May 14. It’s a local law that holds adults liable for any underage drinking on their property.
“It allows us to impose civil penalties against the homeowner or the people that are hosting these type of parties.” Says Police Chief Jonathan Flores.
Alton became the second city in Hidalgo County and the fifth in the state to pass this ordinance. Chief Flores says it’s all in the effort to prevent tragedies. “It’s just something that we are doing, to take a proactive stance to eliminate the instances of these things from occurring. It’s all about keeping the community safe and making sure that alcohol is not being provided to minors.”
The local coalition, UNIDAD, works towards preventing and stopping underage drinking. They decided to reach out to the city after conducting a survey.
Bianca Viera, Prevention Specialist with UNIDAD Coalition, “We conducted a couple of surveys with high school students. They were telling us that the places they were mainly obtaining alcohol was parents or parties.”
She adds loud noise complaints is one of the things that can lead police to the discovery of a minor consuming alcohol. The coalition says they are working towards implementing an ordinance in other cities of the Rio Grande Valley.
“We do know that underage drinking or alcohol is the primary substance being used by youth. I wouldn’t say another city specifically it’s just a common thing in our county.” says Viera.
Alton Police says adults can face a fine of up to $1,500 if they allow underage drinking on their property.
According to the Texas School Survey, nearly half of students in south Texas grades 7 through 12 have used alcohol.