Local Coalitions to Urban Outfitters: “Not far enough”

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NORTHAMPTON, MA –  CNN announced today that Urban Outfitters pulled prescription-themed products which came under fire by local and national safety advocates.
Youth partners of the SPIFFY Coalition and other area youth drug and alcohol prevention coalitionsi had planned to stage a peaceful protest this weekend in front of the Northampton store. Although the protest has been cancelled, prevention advocates don?t feel Urban Outfitters has gone far enough.
“We are pleased that Urban Outfitter responded to the national outcry to pull the shot glasses and “beer cozies” designed to look like prescription bottles” says Heather Warner, Prevention Specialist for the SPIFFY Coalition.
But according to Warner, the store still sells products such as flasks which target young women with slogans such as “Girls with Class Don’t Need a Glass” and “Love Me,” along with other products which she says promote high risk drinking practices among young people.
“We are concerned about products that normalize teen drinking, and minimize the perception of harm associated with binge drinking and mixing alcohol and pills,” says Sue Cairn, SPIFFY Coalition Coordinator. Cairn said research indicates teens often underestimate the risks of drinking and abusing prescription drugs.
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Hampshire County. Between 2007 and 2011, teen abuse of prescription sedatives, tranquilizers, amphetamines and other narcotic medications has tripled among the county’s 10th and 12th graders. Over one third of 10th graders and half of 12th graders in 2011 said they had used alcohol in the past 30 days – percentages that are significantly higher than national rates (ii).
For more information, please visit www.spiffycoalition.org

Six coalitions in Western Massachusetts signed the letter campaign to encourage Urban Outfitters to permanently remove drinking paraphernalia from their shelves. The Coalitions include: SPIFFY; Northampton Prevention Coalition; South Hadley Drug and Alcohol Coalition; Greenfield 4SC; Pittsfield Prevention Partnership; Gill-Montague Community School Partnership.
iiData Source: Bach-Harrison L.L.C, Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, 2011 Hampshire County, MA. spiffycoalition.org/wp-content/documents/Hampshire-County-Profile-Report5.111.pdf

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