Nassau County Legislators Laura Schaefer, Steve Rhoads and Thomas McKevitt, along with Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, held a press conference on Tuesday, February 13th, to announce new legislation to help combat the opioid epidemic. The new legislation will expand Nassau County’s current social host law to apply to controlled substances, including opioids. Currently, Nassau’s social host law is only applicable to alcohol.
By including “controlled substances” within the Nassau County Social Host Law, parents, guardians, siblings, friends, and anyone else over the age of eighteen will be held accountable for the consumption of controlled substances by anyone under age twenty-one, or for failing to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of drugs, at his or her owned, rented, or otherwise controlled private residence. This crime is considered an unclassified misdemeanor and the fine for a first offense is $250. A second offense will accrue a fine of $500 and a third offense, and all offenses thereafter, will be $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed one year.
“Opioid use needs to be taken seriously by everyone,” Legislator Schaefer said. “By including controlled substances in our Social Host Law, we are all forced to take a closer look at what our children and their friends are doing under our own roofs. We must be vigilant as to the signs of drug use in our children and take action when necessary. A simple proactive measure like holding the homeowner responsible for underage drinking or drug use in his or her home can save a life.”
The original Social Host law was passed by the Nassau County Legislature on July 9, 2007. It prohibits any person over the age of eighteen who owns, rents, or otherwise controls a private residence from knowingly allowing the consumption of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21 on such premises, or failing to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of alcohol.