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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Project Sticker Shock
Teens attempt to discourage underage drinking
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: Nick Turner, a member of CHILL, helps his group place warning stickers on packages of beer at Kroger in Rocky Mount.

Monday, August 12, 2013

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

Youth leaders from the CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) Youth Task Force and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are combating the problem of underage drinking.

On Wednesday, trained CHILL members, with the help of representatives from Piedmont Community Services, Rocky Mount Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, participated in the statewide underage prevention effort, "Project Sticker Shock."

Students met at Kroger in Rocky Mount and split into groups. Each group, accompanied by local law enforcement and youth coordinators, visited participating retailers to place prevention stickers on all multi-packs of beer.

The stickers resemble STOP signs and display a warning message about the penalties for providing alcohol to minors.

The youth-led prevention project seeks to reach those persons 21 years of age or older who might purchase alcohol and illegally provide it to minors.

"Underage drinking is unsafe, illegal and harmful to the body," said Morgan McCarty with Piedmont Community Services. "The brain is still developing until a person is in their mid-20s. It is not until then that the part of the brain, which controls impulses, is developed."

National surveys and reports have identified alcohol as the number one drug of choice among youth and one of the easiest to access. Underage drinking has been identified as a leading public health problem in the United States.  

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA), teens drink less often than adults, but when teens do drink, they drink more than adults.

The studies also show that, on average, young people have about five drinks on a single occasion. SAMHSA calls the behavior "binge drinking," and say it is a very dangerous way of drinking that can lead to serious problems and even death.

"This is why we need to teach children how to properly deal with stress, and how to not give in to peer pressure," said McCarty. "The average age for first use of alcohol is 12 years old, and studies are now showing that someone who begins drinking before the age of 15 is four to five times more likely to become alcohol dependent."

Project Sticker Shock represents a partnership between youth, licensed establishments, concerned parents and community members, prevention professionals and law enforcement with the goal of educating people 21 years and older about underage laws and raising public awareness regarding underage drinking.

Local establishments participating in the project include

Ferrum, Glade Hill, Penhook and Redwood minute markets; Rocky Mount Food Lion; Kroger in Rocky Mount and Westlake; Pit Stop; and Sunoco in Rocky Mount.

Funding for the project was provided by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control through a federal grant from the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

For more information on the consequences of underage drinking, visit underagedrinking.samhsa.gov or contact McCarty at (540) 493-9258.

 
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