Don’t get too excited if you notice bright orange stickers on your favorite adult beverage at local grocery and liquor stores: The products aren’t necessarily on sale. Rather, those stickers are there to remind adults not to buy alcohol for those under the age of 21 during this annual party season highlighted by proms and graduations.
Natick High School students belonging to the Natick Above the Influence group joined forces with the town’s Natick 180 coalition to put some 1,300 stickers on packages of alcoholic beverages at stores throughout town. This is the seventh time the program has been held in town.
All of the off-premise alcohol retail stores in Natick are participating, including: Dion’s, Fannon’s, Natick Wine and Spirits, Nine East Emporium, Tilly & Salvy’s Bacon Street Farm, Total Wine, Town Line Liquors, and Wegmans.
“We think it is a great program that brings awareness to underage drinking,” says Scott Arndt of Fannon’s, which earlier this year relocated to 319 North Main St., and plans for a grand opening next month. “It reinforces that one should not purchase for anyone underage, especially this time of year with proms and graduation parties looming.”
Sticker Shock campaigns are held across the country and have been supported by groups like MADD since early this century, says Katie Sugerman, program director for Natick 180, the community’s principal addiction education, prevention and recovery outfit. “While no single communications campaign alone is likely to change behavior, messaging that reinforces existing laws and community norms that discourage underage drinking is an important part of a comprehensive community approach to reducing underage alcohol use,” she says.
According to data from the 2021 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, past 30-day use of alcohol use reported by Natick High School students has declined by nearly 21% since 2014.
The sticker campaign was complemented by promotion of the annual After Prom Party, funded through the Natick High School PTSO and held this past Friday, May 12. The party, located at the high school, is designed to keep the fun going in a safe way on prom night.
The town’s school, safety, health, and other leaders also signed a letter discouraging adults in the community from serving alcohol to minors at parties this season.