Carteret Youth Leaders Work To Get Adults’ Attention About The Dangers Of Underage Drinking

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CARTERET — Participants in Carteret High School’s Pathways summer camp recently participated in operation Sticker Shock, designed to remind adults to obey New Jersey’s 21 Minimum Drinking Age law.

The campaign consisted of teams of Carteret youth, accompanied by an adult chaperone, placing neon stickers on multi-packs of alcoholic beverages and paper bags at participating package goods stores. The stickers read, “Hey You!! ‘KEEP IT LEGAL’ it is illegal to provide alcohol for people under 21!” The stickers are a shocking green color that will stand out for all to see. “Sticker Shock” took place at two local liquor stores: Wine Zone and State Liquors.

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“Sticker Shock” seeks to educate those persons 21 years of age or older who might purchase alcohol and provide it to minors. Its goal is to raise public awareness about the minimum drinking age law by placing stickers on multi-packs of beer, wine coolers and any other alcohol products that appeal to underage drinkers. The goal of this project is to discourage adults and older peers (those who are 21 or over) from providing alcohol to minors.

“Limiting youth access to alcohol is a proven effective strategy to reduce underage drinking,” says Lauren Balkan, program director at Pathways. “We already have the right drinking age. We just need to support it at home and in our communities. And we need to enforce 21 by reminding adults to obey the law.”

“Activities such as Sticker Shock help reduce youth access to alcohol and also show that teens can be the driving force behind this movement,” noted NCADD Executive Director Steven G. Liga. “That is what the Underage Drinking Taskforce is about.”

According to NCADD of Middlesex:

· It is estimated that the enforcement of the 21 minimum drinking age has saved more than 21,000 lives—nearly 1,000 lives saved per year. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
· People who begin drinking before age 14 are seven times more likely than those who began drinking after age 21 to report being in a motor vehicle crash because of their drinking. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
· High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely than other students to drop out of school or to believe that earning good grades is not important. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
· Youth who start drinking before age 15, compared to those who wait until age 21, were 12 times more likely to be unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol, 7 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash after drinking, and 10 times more likely to have been in a physical fight after drinking. (National Academies of Science)

The “Sticker Shock” project represents a partnership between youth, licensees, concerned parents and community members, prevention professionals and law enforcement with the goal of educating persons 21 and older of the underage laws and raising public awareness about underage drinking. It is a program of the New Jersey Prevention Network and is being implemented in Middlesex County by the Underage Drinking Taskforce, a project of The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities.


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