Beachwood children and a socially-aware liquor retailer in the borough partner to send a strong message against underage drinking.

Teen Drinking (Flickr User: TheCharlie PH)

Tomorrow morning, a half-dozen youths head to Sawyer's on Route 9, armed with bright yellow labels that spell out the penalties for selling alcohol to minors. Project Sticker Shock is a breakthrough effort spearheaded by the Beachwood Municipal Alliance.

According to BMA Coordinator Geralynn Roma, says it's a way to engage the whole community in containing a serious problem before it spreads.

"What's nice about this program is that it gets youths involved," says Geralynn, "We're in collaboration with the Mayor, the Police Department, and the [Ocean County] DART Coalition...We're very proud, and we're the first ones in Ocean County to be a part of it."

The DART Coalition used grant money to produce the stickers that will be slapped on beer containers, wine cooler bottles, and other beverages that have a subversive appeal to young people. Geralynn says the stickers are stark.

"It says, 'Warning: Purchasing alcohol for a minor is illegal and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine," she relates, so that there's no uncertainty about the risks of enabling minors to imbibe.

"We're planning on doing it twice a year," Geralynn continues, noting that the folks who run Sawyer's are ardent supporters. "Near prom time, in May...and then in October, around Red Ribbon Week, which the schools do every year to raise awaremess of drug and alcohol abuse."

When the group goes to Sawyer's, they'll also get an assessment of the program's initial success last May.

Project Sticker Shock is another component in a growing trend of consiciousness-raising about the dangers of addiction of all kinds. Communities statewide annually have an opportunity to partner with state police for the Cops In Shops program, which plants plainclothes officers in stores to collar preying adults in the act.

Project Sticker Shock also has the full support of Mayor Ron Roma and the Beachwood Police Department.