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Effort to limit underage drinking met with some resistance

Staff writer

Students may have been surprised to encounter some resistance while participating in an effort to curb underage drinking called “Sticker Shock.”

The conflict occurred at a couple area businesses, which relayed concerns from vendors that stickers discouraging the purchase of alcohol for minors would “deface the property” if adhered to alcohol containers.

“Sticker Shock” was carried out by five Centre High School students who are a part of Students Against Destructive Decisions along with local law enforcement. SADD and Marion County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition organized the event through Families and Communities Together (FACT).

“Last year, we put 800 stickers on alcoholic beverage containers to help prevent people from buying alcohol for minors,” said Ashlee Gann, executive director of FACT. “This year we are putting up 1,000 stickers.”

Stickers bare the message “Buying alcohol can come with a hefty price,” and inform readers that buying alcohol for minors can result in a $200 fine and add a misdemeanor to their record.

Students applied stickers to alcoholic beverages at Carlsons’ Grocery Store, D & J Liquor, Superior Wine and Liquor, and Johnson’s General Store in Florence.

They experienced a glitch, however, when they tried to do so at Casey’s General Store and were rebuked by manager Nicole Herzet. The group applied stickers to beverages their last year, Gann said.

Students encountered a similar problem later at Ampride.

Herzet had said she wished she could let the group do it, but was reprimanded last year when a vendor was upset to learn their product had been used for Sticker Shock. She said she was instructed by Casey’s corporate offices to disallow similar efforts in the future.

Ampride manager Laura Legg explained that the Anheuser-Busch distributor doesn’t want stickers on their packaging.

“We’re 100-percent behind ‘Sticker Shock,’” Legg said. “We just can’t afford to take a loss in that market. We don’t sell a lot of 3.2 beer. When we return it, we wouldn’t be able to get reimbursed the full price if it has sticker on it.”

Officer Duane McCarty, who accompanied students, called Annhiser-Busch to inquire about the issue. After learning that stickers “deface their property,” they ultimately reached a compromise.

“We were told it was OK to place the stickers on or inside of the packages just as long as they were not physically adhered to the packaging,” McCarty said. “So that’s what we did.”

The students also were allowed to put up stickers on the doors and near the cash register

After visiting R & D Liquor in Hillsboro, the group ran into a Budweiser deliveryman outside of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market who told the group that cases with stickers adhered to them are essentially like a “damaged product.”

McCarty said the deliveryman told them packages with stickers could not be rotated to a faster selling market because those markets might not participate in the “Sticker Shock” program.

While still in Hillsboro, McCarty said a representative from Casey’s called Marion Police Department and informed officers there that stickers could be place on or in packages in Marion and Hillsboro locations just as long as they were not stuck to the package.

Along with Gann and McCarty, Hillsboro assistant police chief Jessey Hiebert, and USD 397 counselor Jill Day chaperoned Centre’s SADD group of Kristen Vinduska, Nellie Kassebaum, Cole Srajer, Ally Basore, and Abigail Svoboda as they applied stickers throughout the day.

SADD members from Peabody-Burns High School will finish the 1,000-sticker job on Friday at Peabody businesses.

“Even if it’s just one in 100 that we stop from buying for a minor, it’s worth it,” McCarty said. “If we don’t attempt to do something it will continue.”

Last modified April 22, 2015

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