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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reed College Crack House


College drinking and drugging has been a major concern for some time now. Universities are known to be places where anything flies and partying is generally accepted as being part of campus life. Oregon officials, in an attempt to cut down on student deaths from drinking and drug overdoses, may start punishing universities that knowingly allow and tolerate drugs and alcohol as being part of college life. This raises a lot of interesting questions about student substance abuse and addiction, whether or not a facility one is associated with is culpable or negligent for ignoring signs of student consumption. The death of a Reed College student from a heroin overdose has law enforcement authorities in Portland, Ore., demanding action be taken and that Reed’s president, Colin Diver, to get control of his school's drug use. This seems like a fairly unrealistic goal, considering that college students are adults fresh from the nest, who will generally do as they please regardless of being told something is bad for them; however, if colleges start getting punished by the state for tolerating drug use, campus officials may feel inclined to crack the whip.

“It’s a complicated issue, but two drug deaths in two years on a campus of 1,300 students, something has to change,” said Dwight C. Holton, the United States attorney for Oregon. This is all a question of liability, and that's exactly what law officials will use to crack down on colleges. A federal law which was enacted to help close crack houses might be the best way to make sure campuses control drug sales and use inside the college. Anyone who knowingly operates premises where drugs are used may be subject to serious criminal and civil penalties; if colleges know that drugs are being sold and consumed, then they have a responsibility to do everything in their power to stop it.

It seems strange comparing crack houses to colleges, a little like apples and oranges if you ask me, but... In an attempt to stop college kids form overdosing the state will use every arrow in their quiver, and it certainly doesn't have to make sense. Reed College is a campus of 1300 students, in the last two years two people died as a result of drug use; now, the state calls the college a crack house that tolerates crack, heroin, and methamphetamine use. Seems suspect and like maybe there is something pulling the strings of state officials to crack down upon Reed specifically. Drug and alcohol use in college is never a good thing, but to say that the college one goes to is facilitating one's drug use doesn't seem to make much sense.

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