Parents in Illinois and around the country can help prevent their teens from drinking by setting clear anti-drinking rules, according to a study. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle on Aug. 22.

Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina surveyed more than 1,100 teens and young adults in 24 U.S. cities across seven states. The participants were asked about their party habits and family rules on drinking. The study found young people whose parents set clear anti-drinking rules were 35 percent less likely to have attended a party where alcohol was served in the last 30 days. Of those who did attend a party with alcohol, the teens whose parents prohibited alcohol consumption were 38 percent less likely to drink. Around 58 percent of study participants reported their parents set clear rules against drinking.

According to observers, underage drinking can lead to drunk driving and risky behaviors like vandalism and interpersonal violence. Underage drinking is also thought by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a gateway to binge drinking, which is associated with liver disease and specific cancers. Future research may investigate the types of parental rules that best discourage underage drinking. For instance, researchers aren’t sure if forbidding teens from drinking is more effective than restricting them from going to parties with alcohol or establishing curfews.

Illinois teens charged with drunk driving can face jail time, fines and license suspension. However, with the help of a criminal defense attorney, it may be possible to get DUI charges reduced or dismissed. For example, legal counsel may be able to dispute the accuracy of breathalyzer or field sobriety tests. In other cases, an attorney could negotiate to have the client complete alcohol awareness courses in lieu of harsher penalties.

Source: Live Science, “Science-Proven Way to Reduce Teen Drinking,” Laura Geggel, Aug. 24, 2016