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Know The Law

Parents Who Host Lose The MostThe “Parents Who Host Lose The Most” program is an underage drinking initiative at EmPoWER Somerset based on a program developed in Ohio in 2000. This program is designed to spread the word throughout the community about the penalties and consequences of serving alcohol to minors.
In New Jersey, underage drinking is something everyone should be concerned about. Alcohol is the number one drug choice for America’s youth. Studies have shown the average age of first alcohol use is 11 years old. EmPoWER Somerset has created 4” x 8.5” cards listing the laws and consequences an adult faces when getting caught hosting a party with underage drinking.

Download the Card


  • It is illegal in NJ to serve alcohol to anyone who is under the legal drinking age of 21 (NJSA 2C:33-17a)
  • It is illegal in NJ to make your home or property available for the purpose of allowing anyone who is under the legal drinking age of 21 a place to consume alcohol (NJSA 2C:33-17b)
  • Any person who serves or makes alcohol available to a person under the legal drinking age of 21 is subject to a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail per person served. Parents can be held civilly liable even if they are not present during the time of the party (NJSA 2C:33-17)
  • If serving an underage person alcohol results in injury, the adult may be charged with Endangering the Welfare of Children, and may be subject to a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 5 years in state prison (NJSA 2C:24-4)
  • New Jersey Law imposes civil liability on social hosts who serve alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 who is subsequently involved in an incident causing injury or death
  • A social host may be sued for up to two years after an incident that occurs resulting in injury or death. As the result of a lawsuit, your house, car, and bank accounts may be seized and future wages may be garnished


  • 29% or 1,382 parents surveyed and 29% of 812 teens surveyed indicated that they know of parents who host teen alcohol parties.
  • 25% or 812 teens surveyed indicated that they have attended a party where alcohol was served to underage youth in the past two months, while parents thought the number was closer to 15%; 12% of the youth maintained that they drank alcohol at the party or they would have drank if they had attended a party.
  • 68% or 1,382 parents surveyed and 61% of 812 teens surveyed said that it is generally easy for underage youth to get alcohol.
  • Every day 5,400 young people under 16 have their first drink of alcohol.
  • Studies reveal that alcohol consumption by adolescents results in brain damage – possibly permanent – and impairs intellectual development.
  • Adolescents drink less and have fewer alcohol related problems when their parents discipline them consistently and set clear expectations.
  • If drinking is delayed until age 21, a child’s risk of serious alcohol problems is decreased by 70 percent.