Where Drugs and the College Student Meet
Drug raids are very scarce on my campus. On one occasion, there was a girl who was running around screaming in the Arboretum behind my dorm complex. Everyone could hear her scream; it sounded horrific, so the police were called. That was the only time I’ve seen police by my dorms. The event of the cops showing up is on par with the excitement of seeing a movie opening night. I decided to look into why that is so rare to see. My research led to various laws dictating public universities, surveys on college drug use, and a theory. I dubbed the theory the “Menace to Society Effect.” Where the lack of citations could be due to the lack of violence and crime caused by the drug use. This cause and effect scenario best explains why there is a lack of enforcement on campus for drugs and alcohol.
In the years 2013, 2014, and 2015, at WWU alone there were 599 drug citations and 936 alcohol citations. In all of those years combined, only one violent crime took place. This led me further to my theory. My only justification for allowing drug use to continue was if the cops saw no harm in a college kid smoking a doobie or cracking a cold one. After reading that you may think that campus police is encouraging deviant behavior, but the exploration of drugs isn’t causing other crimes to occur within the college. I surveyed 30 people on their drug habits in college. About 82% of them said they were aware of the risks but that it doesn’t stop them from taking various drugs. I will add that out of the people I did survey, none of them had used anything other than marijuana, alcohol, and various hallucinogens. More specifically, over twenty of them agreed at some point to smoking pot, and almost thirty of them agreed to drinking alcohol. All of the subjects I surveyed were students at WWU ranging from, Freshmen to Senior’s. To most of you reading this, I don’t think this comes as a shock. A college student exploring drugs and alcohol? No way, man.
The numbers of drugs being used has changed over the years. A study was done by the Drug Abuse Center of the United States on the recent trends for drug usage that stated, “Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged twelve or older — 9.4 percent of the population — had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number is up from 8.3% in 2002.” This information could be processed differently depending on your stance of marijuana being legal. That led me to the campus laws. Since WWU is a public university and receives federal funds, it now upholds federal law. Connecting this to Illicit drug use, marijuana is legal in certain states for ages 21+, but federally it is a schedule one drug, meaning it’s deemed as high risk as heroin. So on campus, it’s a federal crime to smoke marijuana. By their standards, there has been an abundance of federal crime happening. Even if you think it’s stupid to consider marijuana as dangerous as heroin, the police who are upholding the laws aren’t doing a very good job of stopping it. I don’t necessarily think it needs to be stopped. It’s silly that the supposed police let it slide, but my biggest argument to combat the police is there isn’t anyone being harmed by the weekend party, or the occasional joint.
I don’t know what led to those various people being cited in 2013, 2014, and 2015. That being said, I would like to know. I wonder if they were harming themselves in that situation or if they were creating a lot of attention towards themselves, leading to a call. Back to my theory, I think this explains a lot of what I see going on. The reasoning behind not citing everyone they see is the fact that the outcomes of these incidents aren’t leading to anyone being hurt. The “Menace to Society Effect,” I think, is able to explain the majority of reasons why we don’t see on campus confrontations and citations. This is by no means a DEA level inspection of college deviance, just an interest on what’s happening around the campus of WWU. I hope that this topic has sparked your interest and is looked into more. I would like to see more research being done to further this theory.