High school senior Rachana Patel has seen the impact of destructive decisions made by her peers in the past.
As this year’s Baldwin High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) program president, Patel hopes to not only urge teens to make smarter, safer decisions in life, but encourage local government officials, business owners and the community to advocate for SADD’s new campaign 21 or Bust.
“21 or Bust is a campaign to prevent the sale of alcohol to teens. We’re doing it the week of prom so hopefully there will be [fewer] accidents and reduce the number of teens driving reckless,” Patel said. “We want to bring awareness that it’s an issue. Even if we save one life, it’s worth all of our efforts.”
The 21 or Bust campaign was created as a partnership between SADD and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. SADD chapters team up with local licensed beverage outlets, law enforcement officials and community leaders to prevent the sale of alcohol to those under the age of 21.
“I plan to meet with local city and county government, law enforcement officials and the local Chamber of Commerce to solicit their support for this program and encourage them to spread the word throughout this community,” said Crawford Finley, SADD program advisor. “The largest amount of deaths for teens is around prom. The number of teen deaths in Georgia has gone down a little bit, but that is still one too many teens dying. Nationwide 18 teens die everyday as a result of destructive decisions; that’s got to stop.”
Next week, the eight SADD officers will travel to various local stores licensed to sell alcohol to prompt managers and owners to sign a pledge to follow all state laws related to alcohol sales and strictly check IDs. Campaign 21 or Bust posters are placed in the store along with signs for cooler doors to reinforce the message for those purchasing alcohol.