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Strict social hosts help curb underage drinking

IANS  |  New York 

Teenagers are less likely to drink at parties when they live in communities with particularly strong social host laws, finds a US-based study.

Many US states and local communities have passed social host laws, which hold adults responsible when teenagers are drinking at their property.

Under strong social host laws, property owners are held responsible, even if they claim they did not know about the underage drinking.

"It does look like there is less-frequent drinking among teenagers in cities with stringent social host laws, even when other city and youth characteristics that are related to underage drinking are controlled for," said lead researcher Mallie Paschall, senior research scientist at Prevention Research Center in Oakland, California.

"So these laws might be an effective strategy for reducing hazardous drinking," Paschall added.

For the study, investigators focused on 50 communities in California, half of which had social host laws.

"Most kids get alcohol from social sources, not commercial ones," Paschall said.

So, in theory, laws aimed at those social sources - in this case, parents or other adults of legal drinking age - should help reduce underage drinking.

The study appeared in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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First Published: Tue, October 28 2014. 16:04 IST