Retailer recognition – keeping area youth safe matters

REGION – The Black River Area Community Coalition recently visited retail stores who sell alcohol and tobacco products in Ludlow, Plymouth and Cavendish, as part of the Community Retailers Program. This initiative, which is sponsored by the Windsor County Prevention Partnership, recognizes retailers for selling tobacco and alcohol in ways that discourages underage use and minimizes the marketing impact on youth. Underage use of alcohol and tobacco can lead to addiction and other negative health consequences later in life. Each store is audited based on the location of alcohol, and tobacco products; advertising and more, and are recognized in a three tier system of Gold, Silver and Bronze.

BRACC
Local students sticker at retailers in underage drinking awareness. Photo from BRACC.

Those stores receiving the highest recognition of Gold are Brewfest Beverage of Ludlow, Tyson General Store of Plymouth , Jill’s Place and Singleton’s of Cavendish. Recognized as Silver Level Community Retailers were the Ludlow Cumberland Farms and Shell Station.

Windsor County Prevention Partners and the Black River Area Community Coalition believe that community education is a necessary component in keeping kids healthy.

A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, shows that retailers complying with identification checking of alcohol purchasing customers help to make alcohol less accessible to minors, thus impacting youth underage drinking rates. Windsor County Prevention Partners (WCPP) engage in Retailer Recognition initiatives as a way to let the community know that keeping area youth safe matters.

In Vermont, 32 percent of TRSU high school students reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the 2015 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and 17 percent reported binge drinking five or more drinks in a row. Both numbers have decreased since the 2013 YRBS data of 47 percent past 30-day use and 32 percent binge drinking. Underage drinking risks immediate consequences including impaired driving, alcohol poisoning, and increased risk of sexual assault, with studies also revealing that 90 percent percent of long-term addictions start in the teen years.

Windsor County Prevention Partners is a collaboration of prevention coalitions and law enforcement working toward reducing underage drinking, binge drinking, and prescription drug abuse in Windsor County, Vermont.

More information on the Black River Area Community Coalition is available at www.braccvt.org or on Facebook @braccvt.

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