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Increase of drug usage at Xavier

Since 2006, Xavier Police and Residence Life report similarly high statistics

By Kevin Tighe
On November 1, 2011

Over the past four years, despite a 25 percent decrease in general crime, Xavier's Police Notes have seen a notable increase in intriguing subject matter — and appropriately so. Since 2006, Xavier has witnessed a gradual increase in documented illegal drug usage, disregarding alcohol.

Though Xavier Police and Residence Life's statistics do not

match, the general trends are noticeably similar.

In their 2010 Annual Security and Service Report, Xavier Police noted that in 2006, they documented 12 cases of possession of abusive drugs. Four years later, Xavier Police

documented 21 cases of possession – a 43 percent increase in drug abuse. Because their reports run by

academic years, Residence Life's statistics are presented slightly differently, but display a similar increase.

Lori Lambert, director of Residence Life, reports that in the

2006-07 academic year, Residence Life documented 28 students in marijuana-specific usage cases. Four years later, during the 2010-11 academic year, Residence

Life documented 54 students with the same conduct violation — a 48 percent increase in marijuana abuse over the four years.

Who is to blame?

"We're spending more time out of the vehicles and on patrols," Chief of Police, Michael Couch, said. "We're observing, seeing and smelling things that you couldn't typically from within a patrol car." Since 2009, Xavier Police has undertaken a Community Oriented Policing (COP) initiative with the mission to park, walk and talk, thus increasing field contact. Under this initiative, they

have increased social interaction by 25 percent and consequently decreased general crime by 25 percent.

"That's awesome, I think," Lieutenant Bill Smith said in regards to the correlation. The sentiment from Residence

Life for the increased drug usage is different. "The Residence Life staff has not changed our investigation of

marijuana incidents. We have always documented when we have encountered situations," Lambert said. "It is possible due to the larger student population… [that]

some of this can be attributed to more students living in our oncampus facilities." There are a variety of possibilities

for the source of this increase: accessibility for students,

awareness and population size are certainly to consider.

Where are we now?

Xavier Police reports that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 of 2011, they have documented 15 cases of abusive drug possession. Compare that to the nine cases

documented from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 of 2010 that is a 60 percent increase. Residence Life reports that from the beginning of the semester in August to now, they have

documented 28 students involved in marijuana cases, which is just more than half the total from the entire previous school year.

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