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Campus drug abuse doubles

Campus drug abuse doubles

Administration responds with “Safe, Sober, Smart” program

Kris Fronzak &

Emily Timmerman

Editors in Chief

To date, incidents of drug abuse on campus have more than doubled between the 2010 and 2011 calendar years. In particular, Security and Protective Services has seen an increase in marijuana use, though LSD and prescription drug abuse is also on the rise.

Though SPS has noted a slight increase in alcohol use since 2008, the number of drug-related reports is jarring by comparison.

In the calendar year of 2008, the total number of drug-related incidents reported was 53. The year 2009 showed a slight increase of 62 total incidents and 2010 had only 45. By contrast, as of October this year, drug-related incidents have already reached 103.

According to Joe Kirk, the associate director of SPS, there are a number of reasons why the administration finds this trend alarming.

“The students involved are younger in class year, there are more people involved at each incident, individuals have been found in more public places, and we are seeing different drugs involved in these incidents,” Kirk said.

Christie Kracker, the associate dean of students, agreed. “The dramatic increase is not just in drug use but in drug use in highly visible manners — smoking joints at picnic tables or on the front lawn of a residence hall.”

In an effort to combat this growing issue on campus, the college is launching a three-day substance abuse awareness program on campus, entitled “Safe, Sober, Smart.” The main intent of the program is to remind students that their daily decisions can have significant ramifications in their future lives and careers. On a more immediate level, the program also emphasizes that the consequences of these decisions affect the larger college community.

“It has to be a community issue because substance abuse is nearly always the basis for our behavior… we all need to be a part of this solution,” said   Kracker.

The program is designed solely to raise awareness of these issues — no policy changes are being implemented at this time.

When asked if SPS’s past handling of drug abuse necessitated this awareness week, Steve Glick, the director of SPS, commented, “any institution reexamines how they do business. In talking to my colleagues, I don’t see any significant difference [in our handling of incidents].”

In support of the program, Roxie Deer ’13 spoke from the perspective of the chair of the Judicial Board, a “Safe, Sober, Smart” committee member and a student on campus. “We want our community to be chemical free and safe for everyone…We need to strive for success outside the classroom, just as much as we strive for success inside the classroom.”

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