Reading, MA – The Reading Police Department conducts the alcohol compliance programs in Reading. Law enforcement activities related to alcohol compliance may include compliance checks at restaurants and retail locations; reverse stings; party patrols, “shoulder tap” and “Cops in Shops” programs. Through a combination of these techniques, the Reading Police Department will be able to monitor, analyze and, when appropriate, take legal action on both minors who seek to circumvent the law and those people and businesses that enable them.
Since 2006, there has been a multi-faceted effort spearheaded by Police, Town, School Leaders working with the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA) to address alcohol compliance and underage drinking prevention. Improvements starting in 2009 in local liquor policy have yielded a better compliance rate. From 2008-2017, 96% of all Reading businesses passed their compliance checks. In 2012, the Reading Public Schools passed a comprehensive Chemical Health Policy that holds high school students accountable for any substance misuse (if they are involved in extracurricular activities at Reading Memorial High School). Reading Police implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy and Pre-Arraignment Diversion Program in 2012. RCASA’s Chemical Health Education Program provides education, case management and referrals that help youth that receive school violations or diversion contracts.
The 2017 Reading Youth Risk Behavior survey results indicate reductions across all alcohol risk behaviors for local high school youth compared to the previous results. Compared to 2005, more local high school students reported no alcohol use in 2017. More high school students reported no alcohol use during their lifetime (33 in 2005 to 47% in 2017); no alcohol use in the past month rose from 55 to 64%, and no binge drinking from 71 to 80%.
Despite this progress in reducing alcohol risk behaviors, impaired driving and alcohol-related crashes are still too common among young people. The Reading Police Department will continue to monitor local liquor establishments. Communities like Reading that have reduced the availability of alcohol to underage drinkers have experienced fewer crashes and fewer crimes. Preventing underage drinking is everyone’s responsibility!