Humboldt asked to consider ordinance

DAKOTA CITY – The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors was asked to consider a social host ordinance Monday.

Dawn Doerr, a prevention specialist with Community and Family Resources of Webster City, told the board that underage drinking is a problem in the county.

“Social hosting is basically laws that hold persons, businesses and associations responsible who know and allow underage drinking events on properties they own,” she said.

Unlike laws that prohibit furnishing alcohol to youth under 21, social host laws focus preventing underage drinking on private property without regard to who furnishes the alcohol, according to CFR. While law enforcement typically is unable to determine who provided the alcohol when they arrive on the scene of an underage drinking party, social host ordinances allow law enforcement to cite the individual who hosted the party.

According to the 2012 Iowa Youth Survey conducted by the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Behavior Health, in Humboldt County, 28 percent of 11th-graders reported binge drinking within the last 30 days. The average for the state is 19 percent.

Of all students, 12 percent reported binge drinking within the last 30 days, which is above the state average of 8 percent.

In addition, 67 percent of 11th-graders feel going to a party where underage drinking occurs is not wrong or just a little wrong. Also, 40 percent of all students report alcoholic beverages are easy or very easy to get at their age.

“So we do have a problem in Humboldt County,” Doerr said. “Obviously we have some social issues to address as well. Because of that we are trying to get into schools more.”

She said school programs were the best way to address the problem and the younger the better, because by sixth grade, many students are already binge drinking.

Doerr said CFR counselors come to Humboldt twice a week but the visits can be increased if more people need treatment. They also deal with gambling prevention.

Supervisor Carl Mattes said the figures were surprising to him.

“Sounds like we have a parent problem, allowing it to happen,” he said.

Doerr said many parents are just too busy to take the time with their children.

The board will consider the ordinance.