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Reducing Alcohol Consumption Among Teens With Stronger Policies

First Posted: Jun 02, 2015 08:33 PM EDT

New findings published in the journal Pediatrics reveal how high school students are less likely to consume alcohol in states with stronger alcohol policies.

More specifically, the researchers found that a state's alcohol laws offered the greatest plummets in drinking. Furthermore, strategies to help reduce and prevent underage drinking could help to target parents and adults by getting the educational message out to their children and better on in future prevention.

"Nobody's ever looked to see how policies explain big differences between kids' drinking among different states," Dr. Timothy Naimi, co-author of the study and an alcohol epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center, via HealthDay. "There's a strong overall relationship between [alcohol] policies and teen drinking, but if you account for the difference in youth-specific policies, you find the adult-oriented policies have an equal or greater effect on teen drinking."

For the study, they used a scoring system known as the Alcohol Policy Scale that measures the strength of state alcohol policies. It also collects and analyzes data from seven surveys of high school students conducted between 1999 and 2011.

During the survey, students were required to answer "how often they had any alcoholc drinks or been binge drinking over previous months," according to Reuters.

Findings revealed that state-level alcohol policies held higher scale scores with less youth alcohol consumption and binge drinking, overall.

"Taking into consideration the power of adult influence upon youth behaviors, it is not surprising that the findings show polices that target adults have an impact on teen behaviors," Mayra Mendez, program coordinator for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Services at Providence Saint John's Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, Calif, is quoted as saying by HealthDay. "There is a relationship between youth drinking patterns and adult drinking patterns, both for positive and negative behaviors."

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