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Stanley: Reduce Underage Drinking in Waltham

Posted by Your Town  August 6, 2009 08:46 AM

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An ordinance designed to potentially reduce underage drinking in Waltham received local television media coverage this week. In case you missed it, please click here to view WBZ-TV's video news clip or here to view the Channel 7 News article and a link to its video clip.

A public hearing on the proposed ordinance was held at the City Council meeting on August 3rd. The proposal was sent to the Ordinance and Rules Committee and then to the Law Department for review.

This progressive ordinance is the result of efforts by me, Councilor Brasco, Waltham Police Lt. Steve Champeon, Waltham Licensing Commissioner Wayne Brasco, local businessman Tom Williams and Brad Krevor, former Brandeis University professor.

This proposal sends the strong message that underage drinking is not okay and will not be tolerated in our city. This ordinance follows the Waltham Retailer's "Incentive Model" to deter underage and third-party alcohol purchases. The ordinance would:

• Establish a non-criminal penalty of $300 for minors caught drinking or trying to buy alcohol.
• Notify the violator's parent or guardian of the $300 fine and require the violator to complete an alcohol awareness program.
• Fine people who buy alcohol for minors, as well as minors who try to buy alcohol with fake IDs, lie about their age or make arrangements to buy alcohol.
The success of the ordinance, if passed, would be dependant on Waltham store clerks, servers and/or bartenders who will need to carefully observe every transaction involving the sale of alcohol. To encourage participation, the proposal will offer store clerks $20 awards for confiscating fake IDs. If the violator is found guilty after a hearing, the clerk could receive an additional $180.

Underage drinkers need to be held accountable for their actions. While the ordinance does not involve a criminal charge, we hope the fine and required participation in an alcohol awareness class will make teens and those under 21 think twice before drinking or trying to obtain alcohol. If passed, the ordinance will result in a safer community for all and a healthier group of Waltham youth.

Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, is also a city councilor.

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12 comments so far...
  1. Let’s be honest. Drugs and alcohol don’t taste good or smell good. So why are so many teens using them? It basically comes down to one reason – pressure. Teens face peer pressure every day in school, and it can be difficult to say no when doing drugs seems like the cool thing to do.

    I’m an 18-year-old girl who has personally never experimented with drugs or alcohol. I think this is because I’m not easily influenced and because I have a great relationship with my parents. Also, there are so many other ways to “escape from pressure in life” that are not dangerous to a person’s health –just involve yourself in positive activities such as fun sports, reading, art, community service, etc.

    Last year, Tory Gant spoke at my high school about the consequences of drug use, and he was fantastic. You can find out more about Tory by visiting

    Posted by Alice August 6, 09 10:53 AM
  1. Alice you are a credit to teen age America. As a teen who has never used alcohol or drugs you are a roll model who other young people can asspire to. Continue to tell all your friends that alcohol and drugs smell and taste bad. You can speak with authority because you have never been tainted.

    I hope you will speak at your high school with Toby Grunt next year about the consequences of drugs and alcohol running with the wrong crowd.

    God Bless you Alice.


    Posted by Henry Gibson August 6, 09 01:40 PM
  1. "This proposal sends the strong message that underage drinking is not okay and will not be tolerated in our city."

    Why is it not ok?

    Posted by Mike B. August 6, 09 01:56 PM
  1. Why?
    Everyone I knew growing up drank alcohol underage while still actively participating in school sports and keeping high GPAs. It is much easier to learn how to handle alcohol responsibly when growing up in an environment where moderate consumption is allowed, rather than forcing teens to illegally procure alcohol, encouraging them to, when presented with a bottle of vodka, feel compelled to finish it as otherwise they would have to throw it away so as to avoid trouble.
    Why, when 18 year olds can do everything else, can they not have a casual beer every now and then? Or more often if they want to? They are adults.

    Posted by Yas August 6, 09 03:22 PM
  1. Hey, Mike, are you serious?
    It is illegal for people under 21 to possess alcohol...that's why it's not ok.

    Posted by jen August 6, 09 03:48 PM
  1. Yas your are sadly mistaken. An 18 year old is not an adult and you most certainly cannot do everything else. Why Yas you can't even rent a car. If you can't be trusted to rent a car and return it on time and in one piece you certainly can't be expected to drink responsibly.

    Yas just remember what nice Alice said that drugs and alcohol smell bad and you will be just fine Yas.


    Posted by Henry Gibson August 6, 09 04:38 PM
  1. I am serious. There have been plenty of things that have been illegal over the years that have since been reconsidered. I think it is time to re-think some of these assumptions based upon puritan roots. I think we will have significantly less alcohol related issues when we stop villifying it and start talking about moderation.

    Posted by Mike B. August 7, 09 12:52 PM
  1. Think Mike is spot on here.
    Henry it doesn't apply to me and hasn't for years so stop talking to me like I'm a child. In my experience those of us whose parents dealt with alcohol openly but responsibly had much more success with alcohol before and after it became legal to drink.

    Posted by Yas August 7, 09 02:00 PM
  1. Yas dear how old are you ? When you act like an adult you will be treated as an adult Yas.

    Yas you said "In my experience those of us whose parents dealt with alcohol openly but responsibly had much more success with alcohol" .

    How can you have success with alcohol Yas ? How much experience do you have Yas ?


    Posted by Henry Gibson August 7, 09 09:07 PM
  1. If underage drinking is a problem, maybe there are better ways to deal with it than propagating new laws and encouraging retail clerks to be "watchers" by paying them reward money. We already have state laws that make it illegal for minors to buy or consume alcohol and for sellers of alcohol to provide it to minors. If these laws don't work, why would the new law work?
    Our society is confused about age and responsibility. An 18 year old can fight and die in the military but cannot rent a car or have a beer back here in the USA. It doesn't seem right put a middle school kid in the same legal category as a 20 year old combat veteran when it comes to alcohol.
    Finally, isn't the bigger problem "adult drinking?" On any given night it's easy to find a drunk or two stumbling around Moody Street or Main Street. In my opinion, these are the best examples to deter younger folks from alcohol abuse. Who wants to grow up to be poor and stupid and dirty, wandering the streets and behaving badly?

    Posted by JAT August 8, 09 06:24 AM
  1. "Success with alcohol" is probably poorly phrased, perhaps "succeeded in not having problems with alcohol" would be more applicable.
    Without getting too personal Henry, suffice it to say that I am legal to drink and have been for several years. I suggest that your reference to not acting like an adult stems from the fact that you disagree with what I'm saying, not in how I'm saying it, so perhaps you could be slightly less combative and focus on attacking my argument, rather than me?
    For what it's worth, I have had plenty of experience with alcohol and have found that, with most people, once you have been extremely drunk 4 or 5 times you begin to find a much happier and more moderate medium, where you normally stop drinking. The earlier this limit can be found, the better, in my opinion.

    Posted by Yas August 8, 09 08:05 PM
  1. Yas someone who is not old enough to rent a car and who has already been extremely drunk numerous times in neither an adult nor acting like an adult. Whether you realize it or not Yas, Rep. Thomas Stanley has the best interest of you and your peers at heart.

    Yas, Rep. Thomas Stanley is trying to save you and your ilk from your cravings. Yas, you should support Rep. Thomas Stanley for re-election.

    Posted by Henry Gibson August 9, 09 08:34 AM