Grovetown, GA – A Columbia County organization wants to alert people purchasing alcohol in the community that drinks are off limits for those younger than 21.
Typically, liquor stores are off limits to teenagers, but students with Columbia County Connections’ Youth Action Team have special permission to be inside of them. They are placing bright yellow stickers on items reminding everyone the penalties they will face providing alcohol to those who cannot legally drink.
“I’ve known certain things that have happened because of underage drinking,” said Rudy Valentine III.
This Grovetown High School student knows all too well what happens when someone his age gets their hands on an alcoholic beverage.
“I’m not sure what drug was put in his drink, but it was a drug that messed him up psychologically,” Valentine recalled.
That was enough for Valentine to join Columbia County’s Youth Action Team to make a difference. The teens work to keep themselves and their peers alcohol free by taking a proactive stand against underage drinking. To do that, the group created Sticker Shock where bright yellow stickers get placed on beer at Grovetown liquor shops.
Another member of the Youth Action Team is Grovetown High School Sophomore Genia Easter.
“It gives them an idea of what the consequences will be to prevent them even more before they actually go out and buy it,” she said.
Valentine added, “Your brain doesn’t actually stop developing until you’re in your 20s, so if you’re a teen who is going and getting drunk it’s already killing your brain cells.”
Tamica Collins oversees the team. She says getting the community involved helps reduce the risky behavior that can come after drinking underage.
“It’s prom season, so we know a lot of parents like to have parties for their teenagers. Some have the misconception in the confines of your home that it’s safer to have drinks provided there. We just want to reduce that belief that it’s ok, that it’s a rite of passage because it’s really not ok,” Collins said.
Jumelle Daniel lives in Grovetown. She said she is looking forward to the impact the students will make.
“You’re breaking the law if you’re giving kids alcohol no matter whether you’re buying it and giving it to them or you’re serving it to them in your home. If kids are underage they need to be having a Coke,” she said.
The stickers remind people that you can get up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 fine for serving alcohol to anyone younger than 21.