Prevention Plus of Burlington County has partnered with Lenape High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization and the Mount Laurel Municipal Alliance (MLMA) to help prevent underage drinking in the township.
Prevention Plus is part of a statewide system that provides professional services for prevention of drug abuse and related issues through education, collaboration and advocacy. The awareness campaign, called Project Sticker Shock, is intended to reach adults 21 and over who might be inclined to purchase alcohol for a minor.
The SADD students were joined by township officers at Martin’s Liquors in Mt. Laurel as they placed stickers on alcohol products that might appeal to underage drinkers, including beers and spiked seltzers. Each sticker has a warning to purchasers about the consequences of buying alcohol for minors.
Adults convicted of unlawfully serving alcohol to minors are subject to fines of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail, according to state law..
Joseph Conlin, director of community relations for Prevention Plus, explained that the decision to bring Project Sticker Shock to the township was made after the organization recognized that MLMA had the appropriate funding required for the program.
“(Project Sticker Shock) is a program that Prevention Plus partners with several local municipal alliances to do,” Conlin said. “We saw that Mt. Laurel’s municipal alliance had funding to spend on Project Sticker Shock, so then we contacted Lenape High School and we asked if they wanted to set something up to implement it.
“Through the school district and the Mt. Laurel police, we were able to set up the event,” he added. “(The program) went very well and the students seemed to get a lot from it – they were very eager participants.”
Along with chaperones, the students took a school bus to the liquor store and spent about an hour placing 500 stickers on boxed alcoholic drinks. After that, the participating students were treated to pizza before being taken back to the high school.
Shannon Conte, a counselor and advisor for the SADD club at Lenape, noted this was the first time the high school has participated in the program. She also cited the help of Prevention Plus in putting the campaign together.
“Joe Conlin really helped us organize it,” she said. “(Prevention Plus) offers the program, so any high school in the county could utilize it. But this is the first time (Lenape) has, and I’m glad we were able to do it.”