Greenport Junior High School students put the first of brightly colored warning stickers on beer and hard lemonade yesterday afternoon at the Greenport IGA.
Seventh-graders Kai Kaufman, 12, and Aidan Crowley, 13, were yesterday’s volunteers, assisted by Lynn Nyilas, Jen Hayes and Laura Jens-Smith of North Fork Alliance, which sponsors the One Voice youth club that’s conducting the “sticker shock” campaign.
“Sticker shock” is intended to make people aware of the consequences of underage drinking, said Jens-Smith, project coordinator for the organization. “A lot of cousins, friends and siblings over 21 will buy alcohol for underage kids. This is intended to get the message out that they can be criminally charged. Also, anyone over 18 who serves alcohol to someone under 21 can be charged under the state’s social host law,” Jens-Smith said.
Kai said he enjoys belonging to One Voice. “It is a community service club that has campaigns to discourage certain things, mistakes that people often make. In this one we’re trying to make people stop buying alcohol for minors,” he said. “Hopefully it works.”
“Some people take the wrong path and I guess this is helping them,” Aidan said.
Greenport IGA manager Dino Cortina said the store is happy to help in the effort to stop underage drinking.
“It’s a serious public health problem,” Jens-Smith said. “Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among America’s youth.” Despite recent improvement on the North Fork in recent years, “we still remain 10 percent over the national average for 10th and 12th graders.”
“We’re here today to remind folks that supplying alcohol to underage kids is not only against the law, but by supplying them with alcohol: you increase their chances of suffering from a substance abuse problem later in life, you increase their chances of suffering a serious injury, of being in a physical fight, of being sexually abuses and of doing poorly in school,” she said.
“We ask you to be a good friend, a good parent, a good sibling. Think twice before providing alcohol to a teen.”