On-campus drug use on the rise

Jackie Skevin / Staff Writer

While many crimes at the University have remained stagnant or their occurrences have decreased, two types of crimes are still posing a problem.

Enrollment statistics show that between 2010 and 2012 the total undergraduate enrollment went up by 14 percent.  However, liquor law referrals doubled, and drug and alcohol related arrests tripled on the Modesto Maidique Campus.

Arrests and referrals at the Biscayne Bay Campus and its housing remain very low due to the relative size.

The most common drug arrest is marijuana related to personal use, and the most common alcohol related arrest is disorderly intoxication, meaning an individual who appears to be intoxicated and causes a disturbance.

According to Chief of Police Alexander Casas, the University Police Department has increased its staff by about 18 officers to accommodate growing student population and cited this as the reason for increasing drug and alcohol arrests.

“Along with more officers, it allows us more time to be proactive in investigating narcotics cases,” wrote Casas in an email. “Our department’s philosophy is that these types of cases, if allowed to go without enforcement, could lead to other issues for our campus community.”

Reasons for the increase also vary. All officers are trained in how to handle these cases. In the residence halls, each floor has a resident assistant that documents the incident until the police resolves the situation and makes their own report.

“I never had a drink until I was of age and I’ve never done drugs,” said Aimee Rahman, senior health major who lives in the University Apartments. “But somehow it’s become a part of the whole experience to party and drink. It’s like people think they can’t go to college without a good story to tell.”

The administration at Residential Life, located in Panther Hall, refused to comment without permission from their director Lynn Hendrix. Hendrix also denied request for an interview last week.

“Students live here and this is where they feel comfortable,” said Rahman. “They’re on their own for the first time and they try a drink or some weed and like it. Then they do it again and again.”

According to Chief Casas, there is no profile for the type of student likeliest to do drugs, however, he did comment on the family’s influence, “What we do has a much greater influence on our families than what we say. What parents model has a very significant influence on whether a student will use drugs.”

-news@fiusm.com

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