NORTH READING — Chief Michael Murphy reports that the North Reading Police Department will conduct random alcohol compliance checks at local establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol.
Compliance checks are done to prevent people under the age of 21 from obtaining alcohol, and to ensure that local businesses and restaurants that hold liquor licenses, and their employees, are not providing alcohol to minors.
“Alcohol consumption by young people has a profound effect on our community,” Chief Murphy said.
Effective and regular compliance checks help reduce the sale of alcohol to minors and curb underage drinking, as well as help prevent issues connected to alcohol consumption such as alcohol-related traffic crashes, crime, health issues and poor performance in school.
These enforcement actions are not related to any specific rise or spike in underage drinking in North Reading, but instead are a proactive approach by the North Reading Police Department in dealing with a problem facing every city and town.
Youth alcohol use has seen a decline since the town received a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There has been a steady decline year after year in alcohol use by North Reading youth since 2016,” DFC Director Amy Luckiewicz said. “In the past three years, the average past 30-day use across grades 6 through 12 has dropped from 11.3% to 8.1%”
No single approach will solve the problem of underage drinking. However, multiple strategies being implemented by town organizations, including the North Reading Police and North Reading Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition, have helped reduce the scope of the problem, she believes.
In North Reading, every person who serves, bartends, or takes orders for alcohol must have proper training prior to serving alcohol or taking orders. Director Luckiewicz also is authorized by the Select Board to check on the training offered to those who serve alcohol.
“It’s important that those who serve alcohol know how to check IDs properly, know how to prevent over-serving, and how to de-escalate customers who drank too much,” Luckiewicz said.
“This is not a one-time initiative,” adds Chief Murphy. “The North Reading Police Department has trained officers in the procedures used to conduct lawful alcohol compliance checks of establishments licensed to serve alcohol, and these checks will continue as a routine part of the Department’s prevention efforts.”
The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission requires that local authorities notify the public that they intend to conduct compliance checks prior to doing so.
Those will questions about compliance checks may visit the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission website, https://bit.ly/3rqVNrr, for more information.