Editor's note: The following message is from the Walpole Police Department.
The Walpole Police Department has received a $5,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).
The grant is intended to assist local police departments in addressing underage drinking issues within their respective cities and towns. EOPSS has been instrumental in providing communities such as Walpole with additional resources to help deploy extra officers on the street in an effort to focus on underage drinking.
There are many tools to address underage drinking and the grant provides much needed funding to target the problem, according to Walpole Police. The grant will fund a variety of law enforcement mechanisms, including compliance checks in all liquor establishments; reverse stings, shoulder taps, party patrols, and “Cops in Shops” initiatives.
Through a combination of these techniques, the department will be able provide a deterrent as well as identify minors who seek to obtain liquor as well as identify people and businesses that allow them to. The department plans on instituting these enforcement activities forthwith and plans on conducting liquor license establishment compliance checks in the near future.
So the message is clear; the goal of the Walpole Police Department is to ensure the safety of our children and the safety of the community. The department is committed to education, enforcement, and early intervention and we are actively involved in each of these practices.
It is important for all parents and guardians to remember, that one of the most significant predictive factors in determining future substance abuse problems for an adolescent is their age of onset. This is a time when an adolescent decides to initiate to substance use; typically alcohol, marijuana or cigarettes. The earlier one initiates the more likely the individual may experience other problems associated with substance abuse later in life.
One of the foremost reasons why our laws dictate that the permitted age to consume alcohol is twenty one is because initiation to substance use generally occurs during adolescence and declines dramatically after the age of twenty. At 21 the individual can also make a better informed decision on whether or not to initiate. This is why one of the department’s objectives is to delay initiation and the age of onset as long as possible.
Another factor stems around research on the adolescent brain, which research suggests does not mature until the age of 25. Introducing foreign substances into the body prior to the brain being fully developed has many detrimental effects on the individual, including decision making and risky behavior, and memory retention.
It is evident that substance use patterns, habits and behaviors are developed during the phase of initiation and the Walpole Police Department, EOPSS, and the Walpole Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Awareness strive to collaborate with the entire Walpole Community in ensuring all of our objectives are met.
The department looks forward to making a positive impact on underage drinking in Walpole and welcome continued support from the community.