Wisconsin Takes Step to Reduce Underage Drinking

On Friday, Dec. 8, Gov. Scott Walker signed SB 202 into law, an important step in reducing underage drinking in Wisconsin.

The new “Social Host” law makes it illegal for adults to provide a location for underage drinking, regardless of who provides the alcohol. The law applies to property an adult owns or otherwise controls, including rented properties such as hotel rooms. The “Social Host” law does not change a parent or guardian’s ability to provide alcohol to their underage children.

Recent data show improvement in rates of underage drinking among Wisconsin teens. However, one-third of Wisconsin high school students still report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. 

Alcohol use increases risk for at least seven different cancers. Since the greatest risk is with heavy, long-term use, and underage drinking is a risk factor for alcohol misuse later in life, reducing underage drinking is key to decreasing the cancer burden in the state. The Social Host law is a crucial step in this direction.

For more information on the Social Host law, visit the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project and this memo with tips on implementation for communities.

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