Middlesex County has been working hard in many of its towns for many years to bring the Sticker Shock Campaign into liquor stores near you. If you have not seen or heard of it yet, Sticker Shock is a youth-driven community-based movement that helps bring awareness about underage drinking. So many people perceive youth drinking as no big deal, a “rite of passage.” But the truth of the matter is that alcohol remains the drug most abused by adolescents, putting them at risk for so many dangerous issues now and alcohol problems down the road. We cannot be naive to the fact that teens know how to get alcohol. They are getting it from friends, siblings, liquor cabinets at home, local liquor stores, etc. In fact, almost ninety percent of kids say it is easy to get their hands on alcohol.
This is where the Sticker Shock Project comes in to try to curb that insane statistic. Supervised young people come together and go to local liquor stores, placing bright, eye catching stickers on everything. They place them all over beer cases, wine coolers, alcoholic packages, and refrigerator doors throughout the store to act as a warning, letting those that buy there know the consequences of providing alcohol to minors. The label usually reads something like “KEEP IT LEGAL! It’s ILLEGAL to buy alcohol for youth under age 21. The penalty is up to 6 Months Jail Time + $1,000 Fine.” These stickers in bold letters send a hard and in your face message to the public about a topic that is very often blown off.
More recently there was a Sticker Shock Campaign run in Dunellen, NJ. The project was run through the Dunellen Municipal Alliance, in collaboration with the Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities. It all started the night before with a fun-filled information session about underage drinking and the risks associated with it for all the adult leaders and teen members of Dunellen’s 1st Presbyterian Church “Cellar” group involved in the campaign. Then the next day, they hit the streets, going to local liquor stores and getting the word out around Dunellen about the consequences of underage drinking.