Students participate in Sticker Shock, underage drinking prevention

Special to The News Herald: Monday, May 23, 2016 12:08 pm | Updated: 12:19 pm, Mon May 23, 2016. Full article HERE.

On Saturday, 10 students from Draughn High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club went to four different businesses that sell alcoholic beverages to spread a message about underage drinking.

Operation Sticker Shock, along with Burke Substance Abuse Network, is an effort to send a message to minors that our county is committed to reducing access and availability of alcohol to individuals under 21.

The purpose of Operation Sticker Shock is to label as many alcoholic retail beverages as possible with a two inch round sticker with the message “We Care. We Card , ” reminding the purchasers that the business is committed to “carding” by asking for identification prior to purchasing.

Special Agent Antwan Happoldt with the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement, along with BSAN’s Underage Drinking Initiative coordinator Rhonda Cook, led the effort at four retail locations Saturday morning.

Retailers participated voluntarily, welcoming the Operation Sticker Shock workers. In Burke County, ABC licensed retailers have responded positively to efforts to create awareness and further the North Carolina ABC Commission’s goals of keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors.

Individuals who do sell or purchase alcohol for minors can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors and also charged separately for purchasing for minors.

Operation Sticker Shock was inspired by the success of a Triangle-area coalition’s work. It has successfully led several of these sticker shock campaigns each school year since 2014.

Participating retailers included Tobacco Barn on Burkemont Ave, Speedway on West Union Street, Colonels Pantry on Jamestown Road and Speedway on South Sterling Street.

The sticker shock campaign provides one avenue to address the issue of underage drinking within Burke County.

In a 2015 survey conducted, more than one-third of Burke County youth (middle and high school) claimed that they can easily get alcohol from people 21 and older , and nearly one in 10 claimed that they can purchase alcohol without being asked for identification. The numbers were shocking and reinforced the need to reduce access and availability of alcohol to minors, which is a primary goal of BSAN.

As a result of uncovering the community needs, BSAN has increased efforts to build community awareness of Burke County’s underage drinking problems and solutions, subsequently, more retailers and restaurants have begun participating in educational training and coalition activities.

Burke Substance Abuse Network is a coalition of providers, support groups, related agencies and other stakeholders who come together to: network; identify gaps in service; and strategically plan responses to community needs as they relate to the reduction of substance abuse in youth, young adults, their families, and all citizens of Burke County.

Anyone interested may attend BSAN’s monthly meetings, which are the last Friday of each month at the Morganton Community House. Inquire about BSAN or about Burke Recovery by Executive Director contacting Joseph Marks at bcacdjoe@gmail.com.

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