This Halloween, cases of beer and other alcoholic beverages often popular among teens will be wearing “costumes;” well, maybe not costumes, but small red stickers that resemble stop signs. The purpose of these “costumes” is not to scare people or disguise themselves. Instead, their mission is to inform. Labeled “STOP! Know the Law: It is illegal for any person 21 or older to purchase or provide alcohol to minors. Fines are up to $2,500 or one year in jail,” these messages will adorn alcoholic drinks in convenience and grocery stores throughout the city.
The annual Sticker Shock campaign, put on by the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria, serves as a warning to adults of the consequences of buying alcohol for youth. Many adults nowadays think that it’s OK to serve their children alcohol as long as they are at home, or even throw alcohol-fueled parties for their kids and their friends. The Sticker Shock campaign helps to remind both parents and adults with teenage siblings or friends that it is never, under any circumstances, acceptable to provide underage teens with alcohol.
Especially around Halloween, many teens turn to drinking to make their nights and parties more exciting. The consequences of this, though, are substantial. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “23 percent of drivers aged 15-20 involved in fatal motor crashes were drinking” in 2012. This percentage is shockingly high, and while it is important to remind teens not to drink and drive, this number would certainly go down if they did not have access to alcohol in the first place.
The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria and its partners (Alexandria Community Services Board, Alexandria Department of Parks and Recreation, Alexandria Police and Sheriff’s departments, Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) are working together to ensure the wellbeing of the city’s teens, especially through solving substance-related issues such as the underage consumption of alcohol. This Halloween, think carefully about what you can do to help with this important issue.