July 30, 2015

CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) youth task force members and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are working together to create healthier communities through combating the problem of underage drinking. CHILL is excited to announce their 10th year participating in the statewide underage prevention effort, “Project Sticker Shock”. 

On this Thursday, July 30th, we will be kicking-off our Sticker Shock program at the Food Lion store on Commonwealth Blvd at 1:30 pm.  This youth-led prevention project seeks to reach those persons 21 years of age or older who might illegally purchase alcohol and provide it to minors.

All the local Food Lion stores and the Kroger store will be participating. Trained CHILL members will visit these retailers accompanied by ABC personnel, local law enforcement and youth coordinators to place prevention stickers on all multi-packs of beer. The stickers display a warning message about the penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors. Our youth tell us that parents and others over 21 are the primary way underage youth get alcohol,” according to Katie Connelly, CHILL Coordinator. “Part of the mission of CHILL is to educate about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The CHILL members see Project Sticker Shock as an important event each year.”

National surveys and reports continue to identify alcohol as the #1 drug of choice among youth and one of the easiest to access. So, underage drinking had been identified as a leading public health problem in the US.  According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association, “Teens drink less often than adults. But when teens do drink, they drink more than adults. On average, young people have about five drinks on a single occasion. This behavior is called binge drinking. It is a very dangerous way of drinking that can lead to serious problems and even death. Adults often make alcohol use by young people possible. After all, teens can’t legally get alcohol on their own.” 

CHILL says “Underage drinking is unhealthy, unsafe and illegal.” Brain imaging shows that the brain is still developing until a person is in their mid-twenties. It is not until then that the part of the brain, which controls impulses, is developed. It doesn’t matter that your child makes straight A’s, their ability to control impulses is just not developed yet. That means adults need  to keep them out of bad situations and to help them cope with stress and peer pressure. Also, studies show that someone who begins drinking before the age of 15 is 5 times likely to become alcohol dependent and the average age of first use is 11 years old.”  

The project represents a partnership between youth, licensed establishments, 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. 

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control through a federal grant from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides funding for Project Sticker Shock. 

For more information on the consequences of underage drinking, go to http://underagedrinking.samhsa.gov/ or contact Katie Connelly kconnelly@piedmontcsb.org.