Prevention workers at Lawrence's high schools say they are starting to see a welcome trend.
Through support groups and clubs, students at Lawrence High and Free State who are adamantly against using alcohol and drugs are encouraging others to do the same.
"Finally, kids are speaking out, but they need that support to do that," said Diane Ash, an LHS prevention specialist.
That's why Ash said it was important for Lawrence parents at a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the dangers of underage drinking.
She was one of five speakers at the meeting at the Lawrence-Douglas County Community Health Building, addressing an audience of about 40 people. And Ash said it's most important to discuss problems of alcohol abuse with children at a young age.
"Early age drinking is associated with the likelihood of developing a problem later on," said Dr. Elizabeth Penick, a professor in the Kansas University Medical Center's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
Representatives of area law enforcement agencies also encouraged parents to watch their children's behavior to try to detect drug and alcohol consumption.
"Don't be afraid to ask questions. Get involved. You know what's normal. You know what's not normal," said Matt Payne, a technical trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said his office filed charges against six adult suspects on Monday morning. All six cases included alcohol-related issues.
"Do any of you think those people took their first drink when they turned 21?" Branson asked.
The Lawrence Police Department is also in the middle of an effort through May to step up enforcement of underage drinking.
"We're placing a significant emphasis on house parties and hosting violations," said Trent McKinley, a neighborhood resource officer.
The prevention forum was a partnership among the school district, the law enforcement agencies, DCCCA's Regional Prevention Center, the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project and the Kansas Research Initiative on Addictions. A Lawrence task force is also meeting long-term to discuss the issue.