The tiny liquor bottles we call "nips" can be found everywhere. Take a walk along any road or sidewalk and the problem is easy to see. If you're tired of seeing discarded nip bottles littering the environment, you may want to check out what Chelsea, Massachusetts has done about the dilemma.

In the year since a controversial ban on the sale of nip liquor bottles in Chelsea, it appears to be having a very positive effect with litter, alcohol-related ambulance responses and public drunkenness all down. Business owners, residents, and local officials are in agreement that the litter caused by discarded nip bottles has largely disappeared. But the local package store owners are complaining that any success is at their expense, to the tune of 10 percent of sales.

Rob Mellion, former Fall River Chamber of Commerce CEO, who now is the executive director and general counsel for the state's Package Store Association, says the ban has hurt liquor retailers. He says the decline in nip bottle litter is more likely due to a training course for package store owners and a "do not sell list" created for individuals who had been taken into protective custody, rather than the ban on nip bottles. Mellion said the package stores had to appeal the decision to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission because due process was not provided in the decision to ban the nip bottles.

It's difficult, however, not acknowledging what Chelsea city officials say about a 66 percent drop in alcohol-related ambulance and firefighter responses by the end of the year. A public fountain once overflowing with nip bottles is now gushing just pure water. Merchants say the nip ban has brought about a very noticeable improvement in downtown Chelsea, that the area is clean for the first time in years, and that Chelsea's nip bottle ban is actually working.

I'm sure this will end up in court, but in the meantime, it's interesting to note that if they do not build it, they will not come.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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