Compact 2020 program aims to take unsafe products off store shelves

PELHAM – Compact 2020 Capt. Clay Hammac announced at a press conference on Tuesday, May 28, a program aimed at providing safer and healthier environments for children and young families.

The Family Friendly Vendor program was created by Compact 2020’s community prevention teams and is backed by the cities of Pelham, Alabaster, Montevallo, Hoover, Chelsea and Indian Springs.

Each community prevention team has created a pledge for local vendors that states that the vendor agrees not to sell, or not to sell to school-age students, certain items that are agreed to promote unsafe behavior. These products include marijuana pipes and grinders, fake soda cans used store contraband, synthetic urine meant to defeat a drug test and any other mind-altering substances that are legal but still dangerous.

Although these items are not illegal, Hammac said they “celebrate and entice” illegal and unhealthy behaviors and practices.

Each community has tailored the pledge to address concerns in their respective community. Some cities have requested that these items be moved behind the counter and not be displayed prominently where children shop.

“A parent would move mountains to keep their children safe,” Hammac said. “That mentality doesn’t change as a child gets older and it’s that mindset that has driven this initiative. Our community prevention teams found out that students and young adults were being introduced to products that are not healthy in nature. This is not a law enforcement or government initiative.”

Businesses that agree to the terms of the pledge will receive a decal to display in the window letting customers know they’re a Family Friendly Vendor. Hammac said businesses that choose not to participate will not be penalized.

Hammac said the program is not an attempt to hinder business for merchants who decide not to participate.

“This is not an enforcement effort,” he said. “We’re simply celebrating merchants who agree to comply.”

With the opioid abuse epidemic at an all-time high, the overdose death rate in Shelby County has quickly doubled, said Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve,” he added.

Shelby County Sherriff John Samaniego the initiative is all about helping people.

“We start with our youth so that these behaviors will be unacceptable as they become adults,” Samaniego said. “That’s how we can change our culture and behaviors. I hope this continues as long as I’m sheriff and beyond.”

Created in 2016, Compact 2020 is a collaborative community drug intervention and education program designed to provide information and support to all citizens throughout Shelby County. Partners and supporting organizations include Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County Commission, Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force and the cities of Alabaster, Helena, Chelsea, Hoover, Montevallo and Pelham.