National underage drinking campaign launches in Pascagoula, first time on MS Coast
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - With support from area law enforcement, Singing River Services is starting off the new year by launching a campaign across the Coast designed to help prevent underage drinking.
Rodger Bradley, an alcohol and drug prevention specialist with Singing River Services, spent Tuesday blanketing bottles sold throughout Pascagoula with the “Think Twice Sticker Shock” campaign stickers.
“Buying alcohol for a minor or serving alcohol to a minor is a crime,” Bradley said. “It’s not only a danger, but it’s a crime. And so, we put out these bottle hangers and stickers on alcoholic beverages just as an awareness campaign to remind them that it’s illegal.
Think Twice Sticker Shock is a national campaign that is now reaching coastal Mississippi for the first time.
“Whether it’s a grocery store, a convenience store or a package store, everyone has invited us in with open arms,” Bradley told WLOX while distributing stickers at Ramey’s Marketplace.
As a pastor for 37 years, the cause is important to him.
“I have done too many funerals with young people being in drunk-driving accidents or other altercations or other problems that could be tied back primarily to the use of alcohol,” he said.
The initiative is backed by support from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Pascagoula Police Department.
“Number one, it’s against the law to possess it and definitely against the law to purchase it for a minor,” Jackson County Sheriff John Ledbetter said. “So, I hope this initiative does help. I believe it will. I expect it to.”
“If it saves one life, it’s worth it,” Deputy Pascagoula Police Chief Joe Don Cunningham said. “I think it’s a really good plan to get out into the public and let them know that this is going on and that we need to stop it at all costs.”
The collaborative goal is to ensure everyone “thinks twice” before sharing alcohol with kids.
“I was shocked when I did some studies and surveys on how many students were reporting that they had been served alcohol or given alcohol by adults here locally,” Bradley added.
On launch day, Singing River Services reached five stores throughout Pascagoula.
With about 10,000 tags total, Bradley said he plans to continue spreading awareness throughout other parts of the county soon.
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