MEXICO — For the past three years, local police and members of their Explorers program have been applying bright orange stickers to cases of beer and flavored alcohol in local stores around holidays, targeting adults who furnish alcohol to minors.

Project Sticker Shock is an awareness campaign by the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition and Healthy Maine Partnerships. The stickers, cut in the shape of a police badge, state, “Providing alcohol to minors is illegal. Fines are up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail.”

Sandra Witas, RVHCC program coordinator, said Wednesday that the Fort Kent Healthy Maine Partnership put the program together and had success with it, so several HMPs across the state began using it.

“Our hope is that with these stickers we are discouraging someone from giving kids alcohol,” Witas said.

The RVHCC trained the police and Explorers on how and where to place the stickers on beer cases. The coalition also gets the stickers printed, 250 to a roll.

Witas said Mexico police officers and their Explorers program try to do two Sticker Shock community service projects a year.

“It’s a good idea,” Mexico police Chief Roy Hodsdon said Wednesday afternoon.

Hodsdon and officer Rob Drouin, Hodsdon’s wife, Renee, an Explorers adviser, and five Explorers spent Saturday placing six to eight rolls of stickers on beer cases and cases of flavored alcohol drinks such as Twisted Tea, in seven participating local stores.

The stores were Wal-Mart and Mexico One Stop, both in Mexico; Mrs. B’s Village Store in Peru; and both Big Apple stores and Circle K stores in Rumford and Mexico.

“We’ve done as many as nine or 10 stores in the past,” Hodsdon said. “If there’s any (alcohol) in the cooler, we’ll tag it. We work with the stores. If there are any stores in the area that don’t want us to touch their alcohol cases, we won’t. But the seven stores we hit, ask us every time to do it.”

Hodsdon said they try to place stickers on alcohol cases and six packs during busy holiday seasons. They did it on Saturday trying to catch the crowd buying alcohol ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.

“We want to get the word out that if someone catches them giving alcohol to minors, it’s a big fine,” he said. They only target non-hard liquor, because (hard liquor) is kept behind the counter and not in coolers.

Last year, they did the Sticker Shock program in stores, and when Hodsdon returned to check them, he said he learned that 70 percent of the ticketed cases had been sold.

Hodsdon said he’s spotted ticketed cases in people’s homes when responding to calls for service, but never seen any at underage beer and alcohol parties.

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