Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School freshman Weeyaya Brown peeled off bright yellow stickers and carefully placing them on the bottles of beer in the coolers at Clyde’s Market in Chiloquin.
The stickers remind buyers that providing alcohol to minors is illegal.
“This is very important to me because I know people who have struggled with alcohol, and I know people who buy alcohol for teenagers,” said Brown, a member of the Klamath Tribal Youth Council, which spearheads the awareness project. “That’s what helps start addictions. I don’t want people messing up their lives.”
Brown was joined in her efforts this week by two dozen classmates, who are volunteering to participate in the Think Twice Sticker Shock Campaign. The goal is to promote awareness of underage alcohol use and asks adults to “think twice” before purchasing alcohol for minors, which is a crime. The stickers state:
“Think Twice: Buying alcohol for minors is illegal. Underage drinking can be dangerous. It is a Class A misdemeanor with up to 364 days in jail and over $6,000 in fines. Be the positive influence our youth need.”
Breaking into teams, the Chiloquin teens made short work of placing the “Think Twice” stickers on every bottle, can and case of beer and wine at Clyde’s Market. This year, they are extending the campaign into stores in Klamath Falls. The campaign started in Chiloquin more than five years ago.
About 45 Chiloquin students are helping with the campaign this year. Seventh- and eighth-graders put stickers on alcoholic beverages last week at the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center.
Preston Lewis, lead youth initiative coordinator for The Klamath Tribes, helped organize the event. A 2018 graduate of Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, he participated in the campaign as a student.
“I felt really moved as a youth so I just wanted to guide the next generation,” he said. “I believe it makes a difference.”
Members of the Klamath Tribal Youth Council, Klamath Tribal Youth and Family Guidance Center’s Dic’ii yawqs (Good Medicine) Team, and Klamath County Public Health submitted a proclamation to the Klamath County Commissioners and Klamath Falls City Council asking them to declare March and April Alcohol Awareness Months in Klamath County.
The proclamation makes clear how the alcohol impacts both youth and adults in the county, stating in part:
- 22% of adults participated in binge drinking last year.
- 16% of eight-graders and 14% of high school juniors had at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days
- 45% of those eighth-graders and 34% of those juniors received the alcohol with permission from parents or guardians.
Klamath Tribal Youth Council member and Chiloquin sophomore Shayla Ochoa was among the group who met with county commissioners earlier this month, asking for their support.
“It is definitely a problem” she said, referring to underage drinking. “We’re also putting banners along with the stickers.”
Felicia McNair, prevention coordinator for Klamath Tribal Health Youth and Family Guidance Center, was with the students at Clyde’s Market Wednesday. She said the campaign is two-fold. It sends a message to adults and impacts the students who participate.
“It gives them an opportunity to stop and think so they won’t be asking someone to buy for them and when they get older they won’t be buy for minors,” she said.