Alcohol warning stickers

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If your plans for tomorrow involve a trip to the store to buy booze, get ready for a case of "Sticker Shock."  That's the code name for a campaign to stop adults from buying alcohol for minors. But will the message stick?

Saturday's effort will focus on Richmond's West End. A team of underage volunteers will visit grocery stores and corner markets, armed with stickers stating the consequences of underage drinking, and attaching them to bottles of Bud and cases of Coors. The project has seen success in the past.

"The customers are in the stores, they receive them, they hear the message, they support them and they're glad to see them out there taking a stand," said Charlene Edwards, RBHA Prevention Manager.

The effort to keep kids from drinking is nothing new. Alcohol use at an early age has been linked to numerous problems, including teen pregnancy and alcoholism. Charlene Edwards with the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority stresses that individual decisions about underage drinking can become community issues.

"All of these things carry a cost to them, and it impacts our community immediately and on a long-term basis," said Charlene.

Not to mention, buying alcohol for minors is illegal. It's a crime that VCU students say happens all the time around campus.

"They just have older friends; they'll get them to buy the alcohol. They'll give them some money, and then they'll just drink it," said VCU student Quiana Darden.

Because it's so common among college students, campaigns like project sticker shock don't always have the desired effect.

"I think it takes a couple times getting caught.  If people have never been caught, they never consider it, don't know what its like," said VCU student Bobby Ahrens.

But that doesn't stop people like Charlene from sticking to the message.

"It's illegal to purchase or give alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 years old," Charlene said.

As the sticker says, it could cost you up to a $2,500 fine and a year in jail.

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