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Survey reveals way to prevent underage drinking

According to research, Ohio parents can prevent underage drinking by implementing clear guidelines that forbid the behavior. A study reached this conclusion after surveying over 1,100 teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 20 in 24 cities across seven states.

The researchers asked the survey participants if their parents set clear rules about drinking as well as asked about their drinking and partying habits. Fifty-eight percent of them reported having clear guidelines regarding underage drinking. The researchers also concluded that teens and young adults were 35 percent less inclined to attend parties with alcohol when their parents clearly prohibited drinking than when their parents did not. Of the 658 who had attended such parties within the previous 30 days, they were 38 percent less inclined to drink at them if they had clear parental guidelines as opposed to those who did not.

The lead researcher says that parental rules could complement community policies and rules to prevent teen drinking. He noted that underage drinking is often related to risky behavior such as vandalism, drunk driving and interpersonal violence, making it important to prevent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking can also result from underage drinking, which is associated with health problems such as cancers and liver disease.

Although further research is required to investigate the types of rules that work best, an assistant sociology professor believes that the study could empower parents. His examples of types of guidelines include those that specifically restrict teens from drinking alcoholic beverages, complying with a curfew or attending parties.

When teens are charged with underage drunk driving, they risk having a conviction on their records as they apply for college and their first jobs. DUI defense attorneys might be able to argue that law enforcement improperly performed field sobriety tests or that the breath test machine was improperly calibrated.

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