Public Safety was called 24 times to deal with drug violations in the fall semester and nine times this semester, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger. Over this academic year, Barger has received 111 disciplinary, drug-related referrals from Residential Life, a number he says has improved since last academic year.
Students who have illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia will be disciplined by the university or local law enforcement, Barger said.
“We could handle it dependent upon the level of violation here within the Quinnipiac community,” Barger said. “Or we can involve local law enforcement, and with involving local law enforcement of course we’re [suggesting] an arrest.”
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug on campus and the easiest to detect, according to Barger. Prescriptions drugs are the second most commonly misused drugs, he said. Vicodin, Oxycodone, Ritalin and Adderall are the most popular prescription drugs, he said.
Sophomore English major John Mitchell said the most sought after drug on campus is “definitely marijuana.”
“Everyone around me uses it, talks about it and it’s even more prevalent than alcohol now,” Mitchell said. “Weed has more of a cultural acceptance.”
Some students said they feel marijuana does not have negative health effects.
“Personally, I don’t really find [marijuana] to be dangerous,” senior Anthony Altilio, a health science major, said. “The fact that it’s being legalized in some states says a lot. There are worse drugs out there.”
Sophomore diagnostic imaging major Megan Pinciak agrees.
“It’s not really dangerous,” she said. “You just get hungry, tired — it affects people in different ways.”
Barger said this comfortability with marijuana is, in part, due to mixed messages in the media.
“I think that students have been getting a mixed message,” Barger said. “I think that they’re getting a rather ambiguous message from several different sources. Certainly over the years, it’s been proven that marijuana is a gateway drug.”
People who smoke marijuana frequently experience many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, including coughing and acute chest illness, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
A study found people who frequently smoke marijuana, but not tobacco, have more health problems and miss more days of work due to respiratory illnesses than those who do not smoke marijuana, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
It is not known if smoking marijuana increases the risk of lung cancer, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Encouraging students to abstain from doing drugs is not effective, according to Associate Professor of Sociology Keith Kerr.
“Drug use is a universal phenomenon,” Kerr said.
Illegal drug use on campus is well handled and is not an issue to be too concerned about, according to Barger.
“As far as institutionally, we are about average in what we see,” Barger said.
Despite the daily efforts to keep the issue of drug use on campus controlled, Pinciak does not believe much will change.
“[Students] are going to do what they want to do,” she said. “Whether they smoke weed or not.”