'Sticker Shock' program returns

Contributed imageThe Greensburg Prevention Group has placed these stickers near alcohol sections at local retailers in an effort to remind locals about Indiana’s social host laws.

GREENSBURG – A local group focused on helping youth avoid the dangers of drugs and alcohol is bringing back a program meant to remind community members of the state’s social host law.

Greensburg Prevention Group (GPG) Prevention Coordinator Brad Fox said stickers are being placed near alcohol racks at retailers in Greensburg, Westport and New Point. The stickers carry the GPG logo and the message, “STOP! Don’t let a MINOR make a MAJOR mistake. Know the Social Hosting Law.”

The GPG hopes the reminder will make alcohol purchasers of legal age think twice about the negative consequences which could arise from buying alcohol for minors. Greensburg Police Department (GPD) Chief Brendan Bridges said those consequences can be far-reaching, long-lasting, and in some cases, can result in tragedy.

Fox met face-to-face with local retailers to garner interest in the program. Local stores participating in the “Sticker Shock” program include The Beverage House, The Party Shoppe, Needler’s Fresh Market and Walgreens in Greensburg. Rocco’s Midway Liquor in Westport and Rocco’s Beverage Junction in New Point are also taking part in the program.

Fox said the program isn’t intended to prevent those of legal drinking age from purchasing alcohol, but instead is meant to remind them of the many dangers of providing alcohol to minors.

According to Bridges, under the state’s social host laws, a person who allows a minor to drink alcohol could face charges such as contributing to the delinquency of a minor or furnishing alcohol to a minor.

And the consequences get more dire from there. Should a minor leave the party and cause an accident while intoxicated, which is just one of many examples of unintended consequences, whoever provided the alcohol could face felony neglect charges. Other charges may also be included, depending on the severity of the accident. The provider may also be held responsible for civil damages.

Bridges said the GPD has a zero tolerance policy regarding cases where alcohol is suspected to have been provided to persons under the age of 21. According to Bridges, the department will pursue criminal charges against those involved, saying such a situation “is something that we definitely take very seriously.” For Bridges, it is concern for the safety of local citizens that prompts the stance.

A minor consuming alcohol may also face criminal charges, which could include minor possession or consumption of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Both Fox and Bridges said parental supervision isn’t enough to change the law. Even at a family gathering, providing alcohol to a minor is a crime. The Indiana Prevention Resource Center at the Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington agrees. The organization noted that parental supervision does not negate the law and parents can be prosecuted for proving alcohol to people under the age of 21 under Indiana’s social host laws.

Fox said the retailers were happy to allow him to place the stickers near their alcohol sales section. All of the retailers have additional measures in place intended to prevent minors from purchasing alcohol.

The “Sticker Shock” program has been enacted by other organizations around the state, Fox said, and is helping to educate the public about social host laws and the dangers of minors consuming alcohol.

For more information about the Greensburg Prevention Group, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/greensburgpreventiongroup/.

Brent Brown contributed to this article.

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Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111x7004; amanda.browning@greensburgdailynews.com

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