Police Chiefs Question Drinking Age of 21

University of Colorado Police Chief Jim Fadenrecht and Boulder (CO) Police Chief Mark Beckner question the current minimum legal drinking age of 21.

Chief Fadenrecht says the "prohibitionist approach" to under-21 drinkers is failing. The veteran officer speaks from experience, with 30 years on the campus of the University of Colorado. "I think we've got to understand what our reality is and spend more time talking about responsible drinking." He believes that responsible drinking must be promoted irrespective of age.

Boulder Police Chief Beckner says that having a law that makes the consumption of alcohol beverages illegal by many college students may contribute to the problem of heavy or "binge" drinking.

These views echo those of the former president of Middlebury College, who says the 21-year-old minimum legal drinking age is causing so-called binge drinking on college campuses. He says that "our latter-day prohibitionists have driven drinking behind closed doors and underground."

Much research supports the views of these experienced college and community officials.



  • McCardell, Jr., John. What your college president didn't tell you. The New York Times, September 14, 2004; Hughes, Jim. College drinking on rise: Colorado nabs more minors. Denver Post, September 27,2004.

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