Third annual Regional Sticker Shock asks adults to help prevent underage drinking
On Friday, June 19, DuPage County high school students along with neighboring communities outside DuPage, will send a strong message that preventing underage drinking is everyone's responsibility.
Parents and Teens Together (P.A.T.T.) and the DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team (PLT) will kick off the third annual regional "Project Sticker Shock", a youth-led initiative to change adult attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors.
The event will take place at Caputo's Fresh Market, Binny's and Malloy's liquor stores throughout DuPage County and at other establishments that sell liquor outside DuPage.
PLT is focused on this effort, as data from the Illinois Youth Survey for DuPage County shows underage drinking is also a local issue, 21 percent of 10th graders and 39 percent of 12th graders reported drinking alcohol in last 30 days. Although this represents improvement from data over the past several years, it does reveal higher rates of use than their State and National counterparts.
During the annual Sticker Shock event, local youth volunteers "shock" consumers of alcohol by bringing attention to the issue of underage drinking to 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 will look a little different. Instead of going into the stores, teens will call ahead to speak to store managers about the importance of the event and the impact of preventing underage drinking. Stores that agree to participate will set up a time for an adult volunteer to drop-off materials that employees can post throughout the store. Materials include removable window clings for coolers, posters and flyers for check-out counters.
"This event and the message it spreads is too important to cancel, so we made some modifications." said Doug Petit of P.A.T.T., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing positive alternatives to underage drinking.
"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 among DuPage County youth.
"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," Esser said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows that alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among youth and is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths annually among underage youth.
Other community prevention coalitions outside DuPage County have agreed to conduct this event in their communities on June 19 to help spread this important prevention message even further.