A group of Long Beach High School students are creating awareness about the dangers of underage drinking — and urging parents to think twice about placing those liquor and beer bottles next to non-alcoholic beverages in their refrigerators this holiday season.
Students from the school’s Peer Leadership Group have been working with The Long Beach Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking, which aims to use a combination of policy and awareness to combat the problem. Long Beach Medical Center established the coalition in 2000 to address what it described as a public health epidemic of underage drinking and other drug use in the Long Beach community.
On Nov. 24, a group of students placed stickers on milk cartons at several locations throughout the city that read, “Warning: Alcohol doesn’t belong next to the milk! Don’t tempt your kids.”
Judi Vining, the coalition’s coordinator, said that alcohol use among young people and adults tends to spike during the holidays, and that the effort was aimed at encouraging parents to think carefully before they place alcohol in their refrigerators, where it is easily accessible to young people.
“The Peer Leadership kids were enthusiastic about participating,” said Vining, “and what we did was on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we started putting the stickers on milk cartons as a general reminder that it’s the holiday season, and alcohol is very accessible in your refrigerator — the message is one awareness for adults. We just wanted to remind people that alcohol doesn’t belong next to the milk container in your refrigerator.”
Students placed hundreds of the stickers at the 7-11 and Key Food locations in the east and west ends of Long Beach, as well as the Mobil On the Run at Long Beach Road and East Park Avenue. Vining said that the owners of the businesses were receptive to the effort.
“We intentionally did it that Sunday because we knew it was a big shopping day before Thanksgiving,” Vining said, adding that students might expand the sticker campaign to include pizza boxes and the like.