MULVANE – The true cost of providing alcohol to those under 21 far exceeds the $5.32 for a six-pack of Bud Light.
In Kansas, adults who furnish alcohol to minors can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a minimum $200 fine. The fine increases to a minimum of $1,000 for allowing minors to drink on one’s property, such as at a party.
The Mulvane Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse and the Sumner County Community Drug Action Team joined forces and obtained a $7,500 mini-grant to raise awareness.
“Our goal is to raise community awareness about how easy it is for those under legal drinking age to get alcohol,” said Marcia Bartelson, SCCDAT project director. “We want to alert adults who can legally purchase alcohol not to pass it on to minors.”
Together, the two coalitions are participating in the Kansas Sticker Shock Project, attaching stickers and bottle hangers with the message, “Buying alcohol for a minor can come with a hefty price,” to alcohol products commonly found at parties attended by teens.
SCCDAT serves seven school districts – Argonia, Belle Plaine, Caldwell, Conway Springs, Oxford, South Haven and Wellington. Teens from each district are involved in the coalition.
Bartelson said SCCDAT’s three-year effort to reduce underage drinking has been successful, with a “14 percent reduction in underage drinking in self-reported surveys.”
Although many Mulvane High School students are Sumner county residents, the school itself is located in Sedgwick county, so it is not represented in SCCDAT.
“We had heard that Mulvane had a great town hall meeting about underage drinking, and we saw some of their videos and thought it would be really cool to work together,” said Bartelson. “They knew of us through school administration.”
Bartelson said she became aware of the mini-grant opportunity the same day as her first meeting with Randy Fox, Mulvane coalition chairman.
“We decided to pursue it together,” she said. “The partnership has been a good one. There had been a division between Wellington and Mulvane, in the debate over where casino was going to be built. We want to say we’re Sumner County and we love working together. We want to work together to help all teens in the area.”
Approximately $114,000 in mini-grants were awarded across Kansas to help reduce underage alcohol use, cigarette use, and smokeless tobacco use. Projects will be completed by June.
“Now we want to see what we want to do in future,” said Bartelson. “We hope that from this, Wellington and Mulvane will work together to move forward. I have a lot of respect for their leadership.”
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