WESTPORT, Connecticut — To discourage underage drinking, Westport has launched an “Alcohol Stickers” awareness campaign to encourage parents to make it harder for their children to access alcohol at home.
So far, five local liquor stores have participated in the campaign, which distributes free awareness cards and stickers with purchases. A sticker can be placed on a bottle of alcohol to seal or “lock” the bottle, so to speak.
“When teens see it, they’ll know their parents know if the bottle has been opened,” Margaret Watt, co-chair of the Westport Coalition for Prevention, told Patch. In addition, Westport Youth Services, Positive Directions, and the town’s welfare department are also participating in the campaign.
Here are the five local liquor stores that currently have awareness cards and stickers:
- The Grapevine at King’s Corner
- Black Bear Wines & Spirits
- Kindred Spirits & Wines
- Greens Farms Spirit Shop
- Dan’s Liquor’s
Ultimately, Watt wants every alcohol retailer in town to participate.
The campaign builds on similar efforts in Norwalk and Southington, involving about half of Norwalk’s 40 liquor stores.
“We’re not trying to cut their sales,” Watt said of participating liquor stores. “We’re trying to reach out to people. When they buy alcohol, we want them to think, ‘Will my child have access to this?'”
As in other Connecticut communities, teenage drinking is a problem in Westport. According to her 2021 Youth Survey, conducted by Positive Directions on behalf of the coalition, her teens in Westport reported drinking at a higher rate than her 2019 state average. . .
“There’s a reason alcohol and other substances like nicotine and cannabis aren’t legal for individuals under the age of 21,” said Kevin Godburn, director of Westport Youth Services and co-chair of the Coalition. “Teenage substance use interferes with healthy brain development and can have lifelong consequences, including addiction and mental health problems.”
Watt said some parents don’t even know how much their teens are drinking in Westport, so the free awareness flyers include information about the 2021 Youth Survey and information about Connecticut’s social host Contains legal information.
Under the law, parents are responsible if underage drinking occurs at home, even if they are not aware of it. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000 per youth and possibly a year in prison for her.
“We encourage residents to talk to their children about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and spread the word to other community members,” Godburn said.