BURRILLVILLE – A new program targeting the sale of alcohol to youth in the community is set to launch in Burrillville, and prevention advocates are now seeking retailers willing to take part and affirm their commitment to complying with the law.
The Not So Easy program will allow members of the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition to partner with establishments that sell and serve alcohol, offering benefits to partner retailers such as recognition and free training. The effort is funded through a Partnerships for Success Grant through the larger, regional Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition.
“There’s things we can offer for free as the result of the grant,” explained BPAC Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Monica Blanchette. “The goal isn’t to shame licensees and business who aren’t following these practices, so much as to highlight the ones who are.”
The goal of the initiative is to educate both the retailers and the minors themselves about the harmful effects of underage drinking, and to push for compliance with the state’s licensing laws and regulations.
It also aims to change the social norms surrounding underage drinking in Burrillville.
Blanchette noted that the town won the grant as the result of a recent anonymous survey that looks to gauge kids’ perceptions about drinking, and the prevalence of alcohol-related issues in the community. As the result of a bi-annual survey filled out by students in 2018, Burrillville was one of four towns in the BVPC to qualify for a grant to address the problem, also set to launch in Central Falls, Lincoln and Woonsocket.
Vendors that sign on with BPAC will take part in training sessions and workshops for both licensees and staff, on topics such as how to properly check IDs. Prevention activities will include compliance checks, and posters and stickers aimed at sending out the message regarding the harmful effects of alcohol on youth.
The licensees will be recognized with a presence on the BVPC website, and those who demonstrate their dedication to preventing sales to youth will be highlighted as Not So Easy “champions.”
Any establishment that receives a violation during the program will not be eligible to participate for three months, during which time they will receive technical assistance from BVPC staff and other partner aganecies.
The program already has the approval of the Burrillville School Committee and Supt. Michael Sollitto and is expected to roll out this fall, with preliminary work now underway. Over the upcoming months, representatives from BPAC will begin visiting town establishments to explain the benefits to proprietors.
Alcohol vendors interested in participating are asked to contact Blanchette by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (401) 710-7996.