The North Andover police department was recently awarded a $4,990.00 grant to combat underage drinking. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is providing $490,960.53 in funding to 72 Massachusetts communities on a competitive basis with awards ranging from $2,000 to $15,000.
“There are many tools to combat underage drinking, and this grant provides much needed funding to target the problem,” said Chief Charles Gray. “Whether you are underage, plan to sell to a minor, or buy alcohol for a minor, we will be on the lookout.”
Funds support compliance checks for minors in bars, restaurants and retail locations; reverse stings and “Cops in Shops” programs; “shoulder tap” solicitations; surveillance patrols; and party patrols. Through a combination of these techniques, departments analyze and crack down on minors who seek to circumvent the law and people and businesses that enable them. Over the past three years, activities under this grant have resulted in 917 youth citations and 377 arrests. Citations were also issued to 574 adults, and 249 adult arrests were made across the Commonwealth.
“Teens and parents need to be reminded that underage drinking is deadly serious,” said Chief Gray. “Parents need to know that hosting a party where alcohol is served to minors is both illegal and extremely dangerous for the minors, for others in the community, and for the parents themselves, given the legal liabilities they face.”
Although much progress has been made in the last two decades, alcohol-related crashes are all too common among young people. According to NHTSA, in 2013, 29% of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 or higher. Of those young drivers who had tested positive for alcohol, 82% of them had BACs of .08 or higher. NHTSA estimates that minimum drinking-age laws (21 years old) have saved 29,834 lives nationwide since 1975.
Any loss or injury on our roadways is one too many. The North Andover police department, in partnership with EOPSS, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable, and is committed to using this grant to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries in North Andover.