Friday, May 13, 2016

Students combat underage drinking with 'Project Sticker Shock'

Communities all over Vermont are working together to prevent alcohol-related injuries and deaths, with students and adults collaborating to address issues related to underage drinking.
This spring, Windsor High School Our Voices eXposed (OVX) students and the Springfield High School Girls’ Varsity Softball team participated in Project Sticker Shock at Cumberland Farms in Windsor, VT and Joe’s Discount Beverage in Springfield, VT.

The Windsor High School students were assisted by Youth Outreach Coordinator, Rachel Williams, while the Springfield High School students were accompanied by Coach Andy Bladyka and Springfield Prevention Coalition members Stephanie Thompson and Courtney Hillhouse. The students went out and placed stickers on alcoholic beverages to bring awareness to adults of the risk of purchasing alcohol for minors.
Springfield High School senior, Ari Rowe, explains the importance of not drinking under the age of 21, stating that, “Drinking can cause young people to make poor decisions.” Windsor OVX member, Brianna Diggs, recognizes the significance of this project, explaining, “This is important because it spreads awareness of the actual laws that people may not know or care about.”

Joe’s Discount Beverage owner, Joe Cerniglia, and Cumberland Farms manager, Nina Crestuk, provided the students the opportunity to conduct Project Sticker Shock at the stores. Windsor County Prevention Partners, Cumberland Farms, and Joe’s Discount Beverage recognize the importance of Sticker Shock and the positive effect it can have on the community by keeping alcohol out of the hands of youth.

The 2015 Windsor County Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that 32% of high school students drank alcohol in past 30 days, with 64% getting the alcohol from someone else (either were given the alcohol or gave someone money to purchase). With prom and graduation season right around the corner, celebrating important milestones with friends and family can be alcohol-free, ensuring healthy brain development while teaching youth that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time.

Project Sticker Shock is designed to reach adults who might purchase alcohol legally and provide it to minors. Stickers warning about the penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors are placed on alcohol products that might appeal to underage drinkers. The project represents a partnership between youth, retailers, concerned parents and community members, prevention professionals, and law enforcement with the goal of educating potential furnishers, raising public awareness about underage drinking, and strengthening the deterrent effect of the law against providing alcohol to minors.
Project Sticker Shock is made possible through the Windsor County Partnership for Success grant, in conjunction with Windsor County Prevention Partners, a partnership with law enforcement, prevention, and community partners to reduce underage drinking, binge drinking, and prescription drug abuse for the 12-25 aged population. For more information, visit

– Courtney Hillhouse, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

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