Social host ordinance scheduled to go before City Council this summer


On the 'Net

To take a survey about a proposed social host ordinance in Moffat County, visit www.grandfutures....

Local groups looking to reduce underage drinking are banking on community presentations this spring to help fuel passage of a new ordinance.

About six members of the Youth Wellness Initiative and the Moffat County branch of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition met Tuesday to plan a series of community appearances by John Underwood, American Athletic Institute founder.

Interest in passing a social host ordinance in Steamboat Springs was revived after Underwood, whose company counsels athletes about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, made a similar presentation in Steamboat in May.

The ordinance would have imposed penalties, including jail time, for adults who host underage drinkers on their property. The measure would not cite residents if minors trespass to drink on their property.

The power of Underwood's presentation lies in its focus on how alcohol affects the body, according to Matt Beckett, Grand Futures' Moffat County director.

"A lot of it's based on science, and it's really kind of difficult to argue with science," Beckett said. "It's not about beliefs or opinions."

Not everyone shares Beckett's confidence that such an ordinance is necessary.

"I think you've got laws in place right now," Craig Mayor Don Jones said. "All you've got to do is enforce them."

Grand Futures and the Youth Wellness Initiative in Moffat County - which recently became a task force of Grand Futures to eliminate service duplication between the two groups, Beckett stated in an e-mail - have tentatively planned to bring Underwood to Craig from March 30 to April 3.

Underwood could speak to city counselors, Moffat County commissioners, parents and students, Beckett said, adding that these details have not been set in stone.

Costs of hiring Underwood are estimated at about $5,000. Grand Futures and the Youth Wellness Initiative put in a grant application for that sum to Yampa Valley Community Foundation. The local group granted Grand Futures half of its request.

Grand Futures and Wellness Initiative members plan to solicit donations from Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and other local organizations to secure the remaining $2,500, Beckett said.

Underwood's presentations won't guarantee that a social host ordinance will pass in Craig.

A similar measure in Steamboat failed in a 3-to-3 vote at a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting in December. One councilor was absent for the vote. A previous bid for a social host ordinance fell in 2006.

Beckett thinks Moffat County has a better chance of passing an ordinance that cites adults for allowing minors to drink on their property.

He pointed to Craig's municipal court as an entity that could impose penalties to those who violate the ordinance.

Craig's municipal court issues fines for traffic violations, City Manager Jim Ferree said, but it also can penalize people who break certain city ordinances.

He added that he couldn't say whether the municipal court would fine adults who host underage drinkers.

Craig's municipal court could mete out jail sentences for violation of a social host ordinance, Craig City Attorney Kenny Wohl said.

But Beckett doesn't know yet whether penalties for violating the host ordinance would include jail time.

"We'll just kind of see where it takes us," he said.

Grand Futures and the Youth Wellness Initiative plan to lobby the City Council in June or July to consider instituting a social host ordinance in Craig.

Grand Futures has posted a survey on its Web site,, to gather community input on a proposed social host ordinance.


George Robertson 8 years, 3 months ago

As if there aren't enough laws on the books already. As the Mayor stated all that needs be done is enforce the already existing laws.


als362 8 years, 3 months ago

I believe that this would be a start for a good tool to help begin to curb some of the underage drinking that goes on in this day and age. I hear it from co-workers and other all the time. They ask me to think back when I was a teen and how whether I drank or not. Even though I didn't, that is not the issue. This is a totally different world we live in today than it was in the 60's and 70's. Back then if a teen was picked up by the police, they usually took the kid home. That cannot happen today. If it did, and the child went back out and was found later hurt or worse. The city, or county would be open for a horrific lawsuit. The time has come for adults and children to understand that this is no longer acceptable behavior. Cars, cell phones, television, video games, sporing activities, money and stores should be more than enough to keep the youth of today occupied. They don't need to be drinking.


JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

no offense at all, but I think als is more out of touch than he realizes, as are most people when it comes to substance abuse..

More laws? Punishing people more and more? Does the problem seem to be getting better anywhere? Is the Drug War working, and are laws like this working in any other community?

The answer is a resounding NO. The only people who believe programs like this work are incredibly naive and out of touch with todays youth, and society. People understand the cost of a life, and they understand when they are doing something that is a detriment to themselves. People still do it. We have a Dug Task Force that thinks it can make a difference, and all it does is make more money for LEO and the Court system. To think the fed govmt has tried to fix both underage drinking, and drug use accorss the board, and that our little town of Craig can make a bigger difference is a huge mistake and is asking for more trouble and more problems than what its worth.

Its also proven that all anti-drug and anti-whatever programs cause teens and the people they are pitched to in a school setting to not abstain from using, but to use more. There are multiple studies by the government and outside sources that prove this. See these: AND EVEN SCARIER

The Netherlands and other countries have a different approach to Drugs and Alcohol and have pretty much stomped out their major problems with underage alcohol use and hard drug use across the board.

We are joking ourselves if we think we can do anything but teach people the best we can, and then when there are problems to treat the issue, not throw a book and handcuffs at it. Especially for usually minor crimes like drinking or smoking pot. Draconian rule and pressure from the big wigs does nothing for anyone. I think we learned this during prohibition and never took the lesson past it.

The more you try to fight the use of chemical substances the more people are going to use it. When you treat the problem, and understand the REAL information about drugs and alcohol by being taught responsibly, and being cared for responsibly then maybe we wouldn't have anything to worry about.

I know, kinda long winded thoughts, but you and I and the rest of the world could argue anything on these topics for centuries on end. But why do we? And why not try something different?

Good Times,

Tim Martin.


als362 8 years, 3 months ago

To Tim; The object of an ordinance of this nature is to catch the children BEFORE they become abusers. For many, now they are experimenting, or trying to impress a freind. Besides, I do know a little about substance abuse. I am an alcoholic. And I know I must never take a drink again. With a law like this, maybe some kids that might have taken the path I did, could be redirected. Who knows maybe their parents or another adult, might even realize that giving alcohol to kids is really not the smartest thing in the world to do. I doubt anyone wants to lock them up and throw away the key. But perhaps if they can be shaken up a bit, maybe we won't have another child fall off a cliff.


JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

You think another law is going to stop it?

You think making someone else besides the parent is the responsible way to go?

I think that might be part of what got us into this failed attempt to fix a problem.


saunders 8 years, 3 months ago

These types of laws have been very successful in many communities around the country and are just a piece of what needs to be done to address the situation our community and nation find are selves in. I offer this scenario. Police bust a party at a 24 year old males home minors are cited for MIPS (minor in possession) and questioned on whom bought the alcohol. No one names names. They are already in trouble why lose their supplier in the process. The following week they are all back at the same house doing the same thing. Is the 24 year old male the supplier? I believe most would assume so. A social hosting ordinance would give our officers the tool needed to cite the home owner regardless of who bought the alcohol and hopefully deter him from continuing to providing not only alcohol but a place for it to be consumed. In an environment like the one in our scenario not only is drinking controlled but couldn't other criminal acts such as vandalism, assault, sexual assault and even deaths be prevented? I do agree that this is by no means a cure all for underage drinking but if increased awareness and education along with law enforcement begin to work together it is an issue we can overcome.

In a previous post these were cited. "See these: and even scarier" Over the years prevention people have learned the hard way about what does and does not work. Scare tactic ads worked well in the short term but in the long run they did more harm than good. Advertising now is more geared around positive behaviors and empowering our youth. Such as

I invite you all to consider the following questions. What do you think of when some says they drink? Does that mean 1 or 2 drinks? Does it mean they regularly get drunk? If I say my Aunt Lori drinks what enters your mind? I she an alcoholic to you?

I believe that if 20 people read this there would be 20 different definitions which is part of the problem. We have no clear definitions around alcohol and all have different thoughts, opinions and experiences surrounding it. I invite you to consider what drink means to each of us. Until we all get on the same page and clearly define what drinking is and what is acceptable topics surrounding alcohol can be difficult.


JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

I think everyone is quite clear on the definition of what is acceptable alcohol use and unacceptable. Both in binge and long term use. At least I hope our laws and society have formed those in most people. The fact thats even questioned is...

First off, from the sound of it Saunders you are part of Law Enforcement, and with all due respect I think that bias alone is enough to disregard anything you have to say on the topic. I think we understand LEO opinions on the topics. Every answer law enforcement has is to clamp down harder, and put harsher punishments as "tools" to help solve the problem. I think you have more than enough "tools" on your side to enforce the laws we already have. And enough money at that also. Just switch where the money goes to. More laws and regulation are not needed and its proven they will not solve a thing, and in FACT increase the problem most of the times.

I think most people understand or should understand the sites you posted to, Own Your Own C and ANYTHING the ONDCP has to do with are mocked in the real world and a sincere failure and waste of taxpayers money. Have you looked around lately and seen how much of a joke the commercials that the ONDCP puts out? Or those ridiculous Own Your Own C commercials? What kid/teen/adult is going to take them seriously and not make fun of them all day in school when they are shown and then create spoofs on the internet about the hilarious and outrageously ineffective commercials. AND worse, Ive already shown you the people who run the programs mentioned are beginning to understand the ineffectiveness and damage they cause and are thinking of how they can abandon them. BUT others still hold on to a sinking ship?! All this plays into how much adding more laws and putting more pressure on anti-whatever campaigns dont work, and how they are damaging down the road. They shove the problem under the carpet and are feel good fixes. The real problem is with parenting, and responsibility. Commercials and law enforcement as a substitute for parenting has proven its effectiveness. And still we continue to pass it off and make more ridiculous rules and legislation.

If it comes down to a policing job, and gathering clues to who provided alcohol? You need to prove who provided it, im sorry. But, in your scenario of the 24 yo, seems to me he already has laws to cover whats going on and pinning something on someone that you cant prove fully seems like a joke to me. There are laws for underage parties, and if you need help at policing, well...


Deter 8 years, 3 months ago

The fact you are all having this conversation just reinforces the social change that is taking place in your town. Underage Drinking is not going to stop, but certain groups are mandated to build awareness and to "try". Try to make something good come of this. There is a martyr in your community, you just know when he/she will go. (One who will make a sacrifices or suffers in order to further a belief or cause).

As soon as a kid in your community dies for the negative behavior, your tone will change. MAYBE not your tone........, until it's YOUR KID. "Too many Laws..?" What if the Mayor's kid dies in someone's home due to binge drinking and positional asphyxiation?" Do you actually believe he won't care...........he'll want the home owner or renters a$$. He won't chalk it up to a "Rite of Passage", he'll sue for the death of his kid. And if Law Enforcement does not make reasonable attempts to deter the event and someone dies..........the Mayor can write the check. What's your kid, niece, nephew worth to you?

There are 1,000 laws on your books. Which ones do you want your Officers to enforce? Just the ones that don't effect you or make your life easy? Oh yeah, and the ones that pick on the children? Maybe the law won't change things, however I have seen Stop signs work. I have also seen what happens when people don't obey them too. If you don't like a law, stop blogging all day and get out of your mother's basement. Contact a local legislator, hire an attorney, blah blah blah.

Maybe it's time Steamboat Springs started doing something in the best interest of its kids, instead of what's in the best interest of its adults. It's called accountability. Don't worry Mr. Martin, this law will only effect you if you provided drugs/alcohol to persons under 21 in your residence.

Saunders and als362 you are right on track. I know you make up the majority of folks that are doing things right. Mr. NIMROD perhaps clarification would help. There is a loop-hole in your current law. The Social Host closes that. You see, if you provide a venue or a place for youth to consume alcohol and drugs, you in turn are the problem. Since only about 14% of adults are arrested for providing the alcohol, it only makes since to target the house party. The party ends up being an issue for neighbors. Parking, littering, urinating and puking, DUI's that leave and endanger the rest of the community. These are not things the general public want to deal with when they wake up to get their morning paper.



JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

Ahhah, the "It only effects you if you do it" excuse to pass a law. Nice one. Very effective on some.

But seriously, I'm all for responsibility and making people accountable for their actions, Ive been accountable for mine. But I also know there are plenty of laws on the books to cover what is happening and it does nothing to fix anything and will only cause more problems. Enforce the laws that are there and do some good policing and thats all thats needed. Oh, And maybe split that pipeline of money funding for the drug war and other failure programs and bend em towards treatment. Dump some money into that, but that would mean we were really serious about fixing and helping people, and we cant have anything but a hard approach can we? Maybe really implement some serious and responsible education. Lying to kids in a DARE class about alcohol and drugs only works until they are old enough to realize you duped 'em. And to put more laws on the books, and to create a bigger police state is a mistake in America. Is pushes away responsibility. Once again, its not just me saying this but study after study, and more and more Americans.

I didnt want to bring them up but the community in Craig has seen a few hard losses due to alcohol in the past few years, and one incident even involved people over the legal drinking age. And I know Steamboat has had its troubles with alcohol also. And I have seen multiple tragedies and friends pass because of alcohol. So, the other excuse of "youll change your tone when it happens to you" is dry also.

I also think its important to note that some colleges are pushing for the legal drinking age to be lowered. Not to prevent people from getting tickets or arrested, but as a learning tool and a deterrent away from binge drinking. There are also many models of alcohol consumption throughout the world and what age is acceptable, and the younger the better in most places say the studies. See, it seems sometimes, when you make something less rebellious, people respond with less rebellion. (lil sarcasm and 5am reasoning)


Deter 8 years, 3 months ago

"But I also know there are plenty of laws on the books to cover what is happening and it does nothing to fix anything and will only cause more problems. Enforce the laws that are there and do some good policing and thats all thats needed"..............Not knowing all the laws you are referring to I guess we can start by saying Marijuana possession is illegal, a misdemeanor but still illegal. Consuming alcoholic beverages while being under the age of 21 is illegal. I suppose there are several police in your town that look the other way....well there's setting an example, and example of dereliction of duty. Where is there accountability? I guess if those in Craig have had to feel the pain of loosing a loved one like I have, why do they continue the same path and why would they not want change?

I'm just saying all laws should be enforced equally. I have my doubts too, (LIKE YOU) about the floundering DARE program. It's ineffective. I do agree funding should be funneled in to treatment as well. Maybe instead of DARE, there should be a course on the legal ramifications for negative/illegal behavior. Maybe youth need to know the consequences of their actions, so that they can make an educated choice on whether or not to involve themselves in it. I mean.....the young mind does not even finish developing until its over 21 or so. The last things to develop is Moral Reasoning and Judgment. The brain can only repair itself so much as it grows.

The college issue is a Joke. This comes from administrators to scared to deal with the issue. To scared of a few rich parents complaining. Hey, if you want your Ivy League college to have the highest drop out rate, not to mention the bad reputation for being a party school. College is a social environment and so is drinking. Kids don't drink to be responsible, they drink to get drunk. Only 7% of of college Freshman state they started drinking in college, which is sad, because that means, the rest of them were drinking in High School. Drop the drinking age and you will have more incidents associated with alcohol, rape, unplanned pregnancy, assaults and property crime.

I guess it's were we get our data on European drinking habits and what we believe, heres were I got mine. If anyone has other resources I would be interested in seeing them.

I'm much of a drinker or smoker but I'll have to visit your little community soon, sounds like a quaint little drinking town with a skiing problem.


JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

Some good points you make also. Why do we allow people to abuse alcohol to an extent, and yet a SAFER drug is illegal and available. Just one example Shows our hypocrisy and how much damage we are willing to put up with... Sad.

Thanks for responding and having a good conversation with educated thoughts.


hunter 8 years, 3 months ago

WOW, How did I miss this?

JDR4, I can already tell where you stand. You are for the legalization of pot. Just say it and quit being a baby about it. No matter what all drugs are harmful. Your logic does not hold up. Instead of hoping for the legalization of Pot, a very dangerous and negative drug, your campaign would be better to outlaw alchol. Especially since you seem to be such a saint and worried about the safety of others.

How can you call the war on drugs a failure? It is not, but it is not really a battle that can be won, ever. It is one that we must pursue for the good of our country, our young people and future. Drug use no matter the form is harmful and causes negative effects, even when closely watched by medical officials. Simply put the drug war has: Taken billons of dollars of cocaine, other drugs off the street. It has locked up many individuals who not only violated crimes with drug use and distribution, but also tend to commit robberies, and all other sorts of issues.

When it comes to DARE you might be greatly surprised at how effective it can be. There are students who actually take it serious. In high school the number of students who are drinking and or using drugs has decreased nationally since the 1990s. Can we keep every kid off of drugs? NO. DARE can only do so much. It is a tool for prevention, specifically early prevention. It is focused on keeping young students off of drugs. For the most part it keeps the target population free of drugs. The real issue is after the DARE there is nothing. Maybe a class at high school and few church based programs, boys and girls club programs etc. Again it is just a tool for prevention. Just like the possibility of jail time is a tool of prevention, just like sports, or family, parents. driving etc. They all have place. There are kids who do not drink simply because it is illegal. Oterhs do nto do it, because it is dangerous and harmful. Etc. The real issue I see is how people just like yourself seem to think it is ok. I did and I am fine is a horrible attitude. Or they make hte mistake pay the price. Why should we sit back and worry about recovery etc. when we can prevent it?

The whole thing is backwards. As far as the original law? It is a good idea. There are adults/parents in this town that allow parties on the property. SOme of which the parties have cost the community greatly. There are families with land who allow he kids to have parties etc. It is wrong and should be punishable by law. If a person knowingly and willful allows minors to consume alochol then they should be guilty of a crime, especially if that minor is not thier son or daughter.

Pass the law and start writing the tickets to the creeps who encourage the problem.


George Robertson 8 years, 3 months ago

Every time some one says "There ought to be a law." in essence what they are saying is that they should further limit/take away the freedom we now have. Freedom that thousands have died to protect. There are people at the Federal, State, and Local level who are paid (quite well I might add) to do nothing but pass new laws. At what point do we say, "you've taken away enough of our freedom already please stop." But not to worry there will always be someone who wants the GOVERNMENT to take care of EVERYTHING and they will say "there ought to be a law", so I'll say it. There ought to be a law that says NO MORE LAWS!!!!!!!!!


Really 8 years, 3 months ago

I agree with you, Craig_gal, but I believe it is illegal to let your own child drink alcohol anywhere but in your own home. Can anyone tell me if this is true or not?


DV8 8 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they will pass a city ordanence that makes drug dealing illegal... then the DA office would stop letting them go.


Craig_gal 8 years, 3 months ago

I cant stannnnnnnd this anymore!, so, my neighbor has a barbeque no adults are out of control, everyone is doing fine and having a nice social event. the other neighbor lets his teenage son have a beer at the "party", someone passes by in the alley, see's the kids with a beer, bam the "hosting" neighbor is in over his head?? someone please tell me how any of this makes sense? I get the feeling that many people posting on this article is 100% for this law but......where is common sense? oh, by the way the other neighbors are dealing drugs out of their homes but, there is not enough evidence to get a search warrant and arrest them.


grannyrett 8 years, 3 months ago

Rainbow--I took a tips class years ago, and that is what they said. A parent can supply their own child only--not all his friends --in their home. I don't know if it applies to all their property or not-outdoors.


Deter 8 years, 3 months ago

Rainbow and grannyrett you are correct - only a parent can provide alcohol to one's child. It is their right (as long it is not the point of intoxication), and no one else can do that. The social host law does apply to private residences, and is directed to whomever is in charge of the premises at the time.

Craig_gal: Yes you can give alcohol to your own kid - I don't know what you intend to teach them, but it's my problem.

Also if your neighbors are dealing drugs, call the cops. But to give you a little heads up, they need a little more then you saying "they do drugs, and that there is a lot of in and out traffic". Cops love to bust drug dealers and dopers. I don't know what to tell if nothing comes of it - other than if it's a rental company let them know and they'll do walk-thru's - let them tell the cops, this lets you off the hook in case of any retaliation by them.

Hey NIMROD!! Have you been paying attention at all. It has nothing to do with your freedom. It allows enforcement action on idiots that let your kids drink in their home.


Craig_gal 8 years, 3 months ago

Deter, it has everything to do with freedom. I do not condone children drinking and I do not believe it is right that someone else would allow minors to drink in their home but if a parent knows where, when, and with whom I think it needs to be okay with you. The adults that are hosting big parties for minors are acting irresponsible but the law is not looking at numbers, it is looking at everyone's private homes, and yards. Don't blink you'll miss another freedom, oops there goes another law.


George Robertson 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey Deter!! Yes I have been paying attention. There are already laws on the books to deal with this very situation. We simply need to enforce them!


Frank Estey 8 years, 2 months ago

Trying to regulate STUPID is an exercise in futility


DV8 8 years, 3 months ago

Here is what the state law says CRS 18-13-122 (2) (a) Any person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes ethyl alcohol anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person.

(3) It shall be an affirmative defense to the offense described in subsection (2) of this section that the ethyl alcohol was possessed or consumed by a person under twenty-one years of age under the following circumstances:

(a) While such person was legally upon private property with the knowledge and consent of the owner or legal possessor of such private property and the ethyl alcohol was possessed or consumed with the consent of his parent or legal guardian who was present during such possession or consumption;

and 18-6-701. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

(1) Any person who induces, aids, or encourages a child to violate any federal or state law, municipal or county ordinance, or court order commits contributing to the delinquency of a minor. For the purposes of this section, the term "child" means any person under the age of eighteen years.

(2) Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a class 4 felony.


JDR4 8 years, 3 months ago

Who calls people who do meth or heroin dopers anymore? Dope is now strictly a term for Cannabis. Shows how out of touch some of us are... And yes, i am for the legalization of pot, because when was the last time a Cannabis user caused any harm to you or anyone?
If we looked at drugs in a responsible way, and not a "lock up up and throw away the key" approach, maybe we could get more work done, and maybe there wouldnt be multiple generations of people now who despise or in no way want anything to do with law enforcement, or much less work with them in a positive way.

Seriously though, if the last two posts on here dont say enough, then there isnt anything else to add. If you all think that this is going to stop the drinking problem, and do anything else besides create an easier path for parents to blame others for their shortfalls, or shove more people into "education" programs about how alcohol is bad. mmmmmkayyy. Makes perfect sense to me. Working with a program and a system that has failed for over 30 years now.

I feel sorry for those of you who are still clinging to the failed system. Get out and actually do something yourself, like get an addiction counselor/specialist license...

Enforce the laws that exist. Seems to me they are sufficient enough. And if you want a nanny state, go live in jolly ol' England.

Besides, t he police know who the problems are, and who is dealing. They either 1) Have insufficient evidence to do anything about it or 2) Flat out dont do a damn thing because of some reason or another. Dont kid yourself and think this towns police force is ignorant to what happens and when. They just have issues implementing certain things...


freeman 8 years, 2 months ago



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