The “Just Call” Campaign Focuses on Educating the Community on Social Host Laws and NYS COVID-19 Restrictions
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, joined by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and Partners in Prevention (PIP), today launched the Suffolk County’ “Just Call” campaign in order to arm the community with information about Suffolk County’s Social Host Law in the week leading up to Thanksgiving celebrations. The campaign kicks off one week ahead of Thanksgiving eve, a known night of celebration and drinking for high school and college age students. The campaign will also remind residents of New York State COVID-19 restrictions, including the new 10 person gathering limits in private residences.
In force since 2007, Suffolk County Social Host Law imposes penalties for anyone over 18 who owns, rents, or is otherwise responsible for a home who knowingly allows underage drinking to take place in their home or fails to take reasonable corrective action upon learning that it is taking place.
“As we approach one of the biggest party nights of the year for our younger residents, underage drinking and large gatherings are a serious concern,” said County Executive Bellone. “We all need to take personal responsibility and I can’t reinforce enough that hosts must comply with Suffolk County’s social host law as well as New York State’s recent COVID-19 orders which limits social gatherings at private residences to no more than 10 people. We as a community need to work together to keep our youngsters healthy and safe and do all that we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol-related problems later in life and are at increased risk of using or misusing other substances.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with Partners in Prevention on this campaign. The consequences of Underage Drinking can be severe. This campaign serves to encourage Suffolk county residents to keep our youth safe by not supporting underage drinking. Not only is this vital for the health of our youth, it is also the law. We all know the potential consequence of underage drinking is far greater than any fine. Together we can prevent both” said Dr. Gregson Pigott, Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
Beginning Wednesday, November 18, Partners in Prevention will issue daily messages on social media using #JustCall. Messages will encourage concerned citizens to call 631-852-KEGS. The campaign will culminate on Thanksgiving Eve, which is historically a dangerous drinking occasion. PIP members are coordinating with organizations, agencies, schools, colleges, and coalitions throughout Suffolk County to share the #JustCall social media posts and information. The goal is to have these messages and supporting graphics reach all areas of Suffolk County.
Any person who violates the law shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500; second and subsequent offenses shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both.
The following Partners in Prevention agencies are collaborating on this campaign: Eastern Suffolk BOCES, Family Service League, Hope for Youth, Horizons Counseling and Education Center, HUGS, Huntington Drug and Alcohol, Long Island Prevention Resource Center, Riverhead CAP, Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Tobacco Action Coalition, WellLife Network, YMCA Family Services, and Youth Enrichment Services.
Residents are encouraged to join in the “Just Call” campaign.