The North-American Interfraternity Conference is to be commended for taking steps to address alcohol abuse among fraternity members, but to be effective, policies should treat all forms of alcohol equally.
While well-intentioned, implementing a policy that bans distilled spirits products while continuing to permit beer and wine is misguided and not supported by the science. Such an approach sends a misleading message that some forms of alcohol are “softer” than others, and undercuts equivalence information in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and the majority of college alcohol education materials, which teach students that 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine and a cocktail with 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits each contains the same amount of alcohol.
We share the commitment demonstrated by college administrators and fraternities to address alcohol abuse on campus. In doing so, college students of legal drinking age must recognize that all forms of alcohol can and should be consumed responsibly, and that the consequences of alcohol abuse are attributable to the consumption pattern, not the type of alcohol consumed.