How can we get involved?
BT has several years of strategic planning and evolving efforts to persuade parents, law enforcement, and public officials to get behind Beaverton’s social host liability law as well as to encourage law enforcement agencies and the courts to effectively enforce the law. Having this collection of key public officials signal their intention to put their combined influence behind Oregon's social host law represents major progress toward improving the local environment. As in many communities, a persistent attitude among local parents and other adults that underage drinking is a harmless rite of passage, reinforced by some grownups’ insistence that they drank in their teens and came to no harm, is a myth that the coalition has had to continually address. As others have also found, the Town Hall Meetings model was a good fit for the coalition’s logic model planning and an effective vehicle for driving change. The coalition recognized that both general public and official support for the state’s social host law was necessary for the law to benefit the community.
- Helping to establish a community norm that rejects underage drinking as an acceptable part of growing up;
- Holding youth accountable for underage drinking parties;
- Encouraging parents and adults to take steps to prevent teenage drinking parties while they are away;
- Increasing awareness and providing an incentive for hosts to be vigilant in preventing underage drinking;
- Deterring adults and youth from hosting parties where underage drinking occurs; and
- Allowing law enforcement officers to issue a citation or charge individuals who host underage drinking parties for “providing the place for underage drinking to occur.”
Earlier Town Hall Meetings helped the Washington County Anti-Drug Coalition educate some community leaders and parents about the negative consequences many underage drinkers experience, but it was difficult to draw an audience and get media attention.