Washington County: One Voice youth from Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School (Machias) and Shead High School (Eastport) kicked off “Project Sticker Shock,” a youth-led initiative to change adult attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors. The students affixed florescent orange-and-black stickers to containers of alcohol, especially beer, that provide buyers with a strong reminder: “Providing Alcohol to Minors is Illegal! Fines are up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail!”
The “Sticker Shock” Project was first introduced in Maine in February 2001 by youth in the Fort Kent area who designed the stickers and posters that are now being used in this statewide project. “Sticker Shock” is sponsored by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse to highlight the issue of underage drinking and the adults who provide alcohol to minors. One Voice is sponsored by Washington County: One Community, a Healthy Maine Partnership, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Washington County citizens by empowering people to live healthy lifestyles and to improve the public health of the communities they serve through ongoing planning, community action, education, and advocacy.
“Adults need to set a better example for kids,” said a One Voice member. “When adults supply alcohol to youth it sends us a very mixed message. Underage drinking is not a teen problem, but a community problem. Adults, youth, law enforcement, and retail stores all need to be part of the solution.”
The Rose Gaffney School One Voice group recognizes Machias Foster’s On the Run, and the Shead High School group, R&M IGA, for their efforts manage the sale of alcohol responsibly as partners in the Sticker Shock effort. “A strong community message is sent when local businesses like these take responsibility for speaking out against underage drinking,” said Jenny Robish, youth outreach coordinator for Washington County: One Community. “These stores are working together with youth to create a safer, healthier lifestyle by combating the problem of underage drinking.”
Alcohol has been identified as the number one drug of choice among Maine youth, and according to local youth, is also one of the easiest substances to obtain. The “Sticker Shock Project” aims to cause adults to think twice before making it any easier for youth to access alcohol. Washington County: One Voice youth, local alcohol retailers, and the state police want to remind adults that providing alcohol to minors, or allowing them to drink in a place under your control is against the law all year round, and carries the same penalties under the law as furnishing, even if you don’t supply the alcohol.
Washington County: One Voice is a county-wide coalition that brings together teams of youth in grades 6-12 and adult mentors to inspire and create positive change in their schools and communities. If your school or community group is interested in starting a One Voice group in your area, please contact Washington County: One Community Youth Coordinator Jenny Robish at 255-3741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[ published on June 23, 2015 under WC:OC's Blog ]