Hoovler warns of dangers of drugs, alcohol heading into summer

Port Jervis. Any adults who supply kids with drugs or alcohol could face severe penalties.

| 05 Jun 2024 | 11:10

In recent letters sent to superintendents of Orange County school districts, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler reminded stakeholders that far too often proms, formals, graduations and graduation parties end in tragedy because of the use of illegal substances and alcohol.

“We must work together as a community to ensure that our children are able to enjoy the summer months safely with celebrations of graduations and other family events,” Hoovler said. “Drugs and alcohol should never be part of childhood celebrations and there are legal consequences for those who would allow our kids access to these substances. Safety is a conscious choice that is easy to make and will help to keep you and your family secure to enjoy the time together. Orange County has so much to offer us all and I encourage everyone to safely use our waterways and public lands and parks.”

The decriminalization of marijuana, Hoovler said, has failed to keep the drug out of the hands of children and there has been a marked increase in calls for medical attention at local school districts involving THC, CBD oils, “K2” and other substances being ingested by the use of electronic cigarettes.

New York State Penal Law Section 260.20 makes it a crime for anyone 18 years of age or older to provide alcohol to children under the age of 21. In addition, Penal Law Article 222 establishes various criminal penalties for people aged 21 and over who provide marijuana to those under age 21, and the New York State Cannabis Law makes it unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana.

Orange County’s Social Host Law imposes criminal penalties on anyone 18 years of age or older who knowingly allows underage drinking on premises under their control, or who fails to take steps to stop underage drinking once it is discovered on those premises. The impetus for the Social Host Law was a party where underaged drinking was allowed, resulting in a party goer being stabbed to death. The Social Host Laws penalties apply to parties that are held on private and public property under the host’s control.

Hoovler said parents should remind children to seek medical attention for anyone experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, as New York’s Good Samaritan Law prevents prosecution of drug and alcohol possession offenses committed by people whose possession of those substances is discovered because of their reporting such a medical emergency.