Project Sticker Shock asks adults to help prevent underage drinking

Annual Project Sticker Shock asks adults to help prevent underage drinking

  • Stevenson High School students Carson Ezell, left, and Rebekah Jin, right, pose with the assistant manager at Sunset Foods as they dropped off materials for this year's Regional Sticker Shock event on June 19.

    Stevenson High School students Carson Ezell, left, and Rebekah Jin, right, pose with the assistant manager at Sunset Foods as they dropped off materials for this year's Regional Sticker Shock event on June 19. Courtesy of Carson Ezell

 
Submitted by Lauren Hansen
Updated 6/26/2020 12:21 PM

Lake and DuPage County high school students recently sent a message that preventing underage drinking is everyone's responsibility.

Eleven Illinois coalitions kicked off the second annual regional "Project Sticker Shock," a youth-led initiative to change adult attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors. The June 19 event took place at Binny's, Sunset Foods and other local liquor stores throughout Lake, Cook, Will and DuPage counties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As part of the event, local youth volunteers "shock" consumers of alcohol and bring attention to the issue of underage drinking and the adults who provide alcohol to minors. Typically, teens and adults visit liquor departments to place bright orange bottle hangers on beer, wine and other liquor products that remind adult consumers that their actions matter and that preventing underage drinking is everyone's responsibility.

However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, this year's event looked a little different.

Instead of going into the stores, teens have spoken to store managers about the importance of the event and the impact of preventing underage drinking.

Stores that agreed to participate set up a time for a volunteer to drop off materials, which the manager then posted throughout the store. Materials included removable window clings for coolers, posters and flyers for checkout counters.

"This event and the message it spreads is too important to cancel, so instead we made some modifications," said Doug Petit of Parents And Teens Together, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing positive alternatives to underage drinking.

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"When adults supply alcohol to youth it sends them a very mixed message. Underage drinking is not only a teen problem; this is a community problem," Petit said.

"Sticker Shock sends a compelling message to parents and other adults about underage drinking, especially since that message is coming from high school students," said Jordan Esser, project coordinator of PLT, a community coalition working to reduce youth substance use and increase mental wellness.

"We know that COVID-19 is presenting some unique risk factors for teen substance use, including teens having more down time at home and increased liquor sales among adults, making alcohol potentially more widely available to teens. Now more than ever is a great time to remind adults that preventing underage drinking is everyone's responsibility."

The Sticker Shock campaign is held the Friday before Father's Day because it was on that day in 2005 that Petit's 16-year-old son, Johnathan, attended a party in Hanover Park where a parent supplied alcohol to underage teens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Glenbard North High sophomore got drunk and was thrown out of the party; his body was found four days later in a Carol Stream retention pond.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows that alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among youth, and that it is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths annually among underage youth.

Eleven community prevention coalitions participated on June 19:

• Stand Strong Coalition -- Lake County

• Glenbard Parent Series -- DuPage

• Illinois PTA -- DuPage

• Community Alliance for Prevention -- Naperville/Aurora

• Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists -- DuPage/Cook

• Positive Youth Development -- Oak Park and River Forest

• Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community -- Wilmington

• Will County Coalition -- Will County

• Safe and Healthy Elgin -- Elgin

• Leading Efforts Against Drugs -- Lake County

• Braidwood Area Coalition for a Healthy Community -- Braidwood

For more information on Project Sticker Shock, visit www.DuPagePLT.org or www.facebook.com/regionalstickershock.

The Stand Strong Coalition and Stevenson High School's substance abuse club, Catalyst, participated in this year's Regional Sticker Shock. The coalition is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to preventing underage drinking and drug use.

It is composed of members representing all sectors of the community, including youth, parents, local businesses, law enforcement, health care professionals, local government and school officials, faith-based organizations, and civic groups, youth-serving organizations and other agencies involved in reducing substance abuse.

The coalition serves youth in District 125: Adlai E. Stevenson High School and surrounding sender school areas, including the communities of Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Prairie View and portions of Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Mundelein, Hawthorn Woods, Vernon Hills, Lake Forest, Indian Creek, Wheeling, Lake Zurich, Riverwoods, Kildeer, Palatine and Mettawa.