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Drug crimes rise on college campuses

Recent statistics suggest that law enforcement might be targeting drugs on college campuses around Michigan. The Office of Postsecondary Education, a website, stated that violations of liquor laws have gone down over the last few years on college campuses around the state. All the while, arrests for drug crimes have gone up.

This was quite noticeable at Grand Valley State University, with campuses in Allendale and Grand Rapids, Michigan. At that school, arrests for drugs skyrocketed from 24 in 2007 to 63 in 2011. This is at the same time that arrests for alcohol went down from 241 campus arrests to 165.

Taking into consideration all of Michigan's college campuses, there were 474 arrests for drugs in 2007, which spiked in 2011 to 727.

Even with those fairly clear-cut numbers, the assistant director of the Grand Valley Police Department said that it is tough to establish trends in student behavior simply because a new batch of students arrives on campus every year.

The question remains -- are drugs being utilized more often by college students, or are various campus police departments simply targeting drugs more so than it has in the past?

Statistics suggest that the use of drugs is rising at a greater level than alcohol use. The National Institute of Drug Abuse stated that, in 2012, teen use of alcohol hit historically low levels. According to the institute, 28.1 percent of high school seniors claimed they got drunk in the last month. All the while, the perceived risks involved with using marijuana have seemingly receded with these demographics, causing more students to use it. That is a mentality that the Grand Valley State law enforcer has noticed.

Police on college campuses generally keep their finger on the pulse of the student body. Law enforcers might be more alert to drug crimes and even unfairly enforce the campus' laws disproportionately. Drug crimes can carry heavy punishment. One lapse in judgment could alter a student's life forever.

Source: Grand Valley Lanthorn, "GVSU sees rise in drug charges and drop in liquor violations," Ryan Jarvi, March 20, 2013

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