Class of 2021 Celebrate Sober Campaign

06/17/2021

Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP) is launching its Class of 2021 Celebrate Sober Campaign. With graduation season and summer here, CAP continues the annual public awareness campaign to encourage students to celebrate safely and avoid the pitfalls of underage drinking and drug use.

Partnering with PBMC-Northwell health and Local Businesses

Each year, local businesses join this effort. They place 2-inch stickers on deli sandwiches, take-out bags, coffee cups, and catering orders. The sticker says, “Congratulations Class of 2021. Live Your Best Life: Celebrate Sober.”

This year, CAP has partnered with Peconic Bay Medical Center to sponsor the Celebrate Sober Campaign. The stickers are provided free to interested businesses. Any type of business can participate.

“Peconic Bay Medical Center is proud to partner with CAP and the Riverhead School District in promoting safe celebrations during this prom and graduation season,” said Amy Loeb, EdD, MBA, RN, Executive Director of PBMC. “As we head into what promises to be a joyous summer of re-opening, we hope to inspire the future leaders of our communities to take responsibility not just for their own health and wellness, but also for their friends and family.”

Tony Maaiki, owner of Lighthouse Deli in Aquebogue, participates in the program every year. “We’re proud to share CAP’s important message to our community. Promoting a healthy lifestyle is important to us. We also want young people to make smart choices as they celebrate their accomplishments.”

Making Healthy Choices

“Young people are inundated with social media, advertisements, music, and messages that glamorize substance use and encourage risky behavior,” said CAP Community Prevention Specialist, Cynthia Redmond. “It is difficult to challenge the mass marketing of the alcohol industry. However, we want to remind kids that they have the ability to make healthy choices. Living a substance-free lifestyle can only help them to be successful.”

She further added that “due to the pandemic and an unpredictable school year, young people may have used substances to cope with feelings of isolation, anxiety, or depression. This can only compound these feelings and lead to negative consequences. As life slowly returns to normal, the time is right for young people to hit the reset button and determine if their behavior is preventing them from achieving their goals.”

Through this campaign, CAP’s message to the Class of 2021 is that the Riverhead community supports their healthy choices.

Preventing Underage Drinking

While the Celebrate Sober Campaign focuses on young people, it also serves as a reminder that parents and the community play a vital role in preventing underage drinking. Providing alcohol to minors or allowing underage drinking  violates the trust of other parents and the community. It is also a violation of the law. Adults over the age of 18 who provide alcohol or knowingly allow underage drinking in their home can be charged with a misdemeanor under the Suffolk County Social Host Law. Penalties can include fines up to $1000 and/or one year in jail.

“Thank you to Riverhead CAP for highlighting the perils of underage drinking and drug use, as well as the Social Host Law, which holds parents and other adults accountable when they allow underage drinking in their homes,” said Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski. “CAP’s actions help us focus our efforts, as a community on keeping our youth, who are our future, safe and healthy.”

ALcohol-Related Injuries and deaths

Each year, 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related causes. In addition, more than 190,000 people under 21 visit and emergency room for alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol is the drug most abused by teens. It causes more deaths in young people under 21 than all illegal drugs combined. One-third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June during peak prom and graduation season.

To participate in the Class of 2021 Celebrate Sober Campaign, contact Cynthia Redmond at [email protected] to order free stickers.

For additional resources, visit our Resource page here.