Alcohol, Marijuana and Prescription Drugs top UCO’s Abused Substances
Alcohol is typically the substance abuse of choice among college students on campuses in America. UCO has a no tolerance policy on campus or UCO property. (Photo provided by Pixabay.)
Crime on the University of Central Oklahoma campus is scarce, but when crime is committed on campus it comes in the form of substance abuse. The ruling substance on UCO’s campus is alcohol.
“Alcohol has been, and will likely always be, the substance of choice for abuse on college campuses including UCO,” Jeff Harp, chief of UCO Police, said. “It is readily available everywhere and is relatively easy to obtain even if under 21 years of age.”
“Intoxication causes poor decision making, danger of injury, inability to recognize risks and a lack of ability to manage multiple tasks such as the act of driving,” Harp said.
Although it does occur, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) does not occur as often on the UCO campus as other campuses. UCO police officers recorded 11 DUIs this year.
Sexual assault on college campuses has also come to the forefront of the 2016 election and is being addressed by the 2016 presidential candidates.
“Sexual assaults most often have alcohol and/or other drugs as a contributing element to the crime,” Harp said. This could be a contributing factor in the ways that the candidates help to alleviate sexual assault happening on college campuses such as UCO.
If the topic of conversation moves to Controlled Dangerous Substances, then marijuana is the “drug” of choice.
“Marijuana is the traditional drug that UCO Police has the most interactions with year in and year out,” Harp said. The legalization of marijuana for its medical use in 18 different states, such as Colorado, could lead students to be more accepting of the substance.
“Oklahoma law prohibits growing it, cultivating it, selling it, distributing it, possessing it and using it in any form,” Harp said. “There may be a ballot initiative in November to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma but that will not make it legal for someone to possess and use it improperly while claiming a medical necessity.”
If students are found in possession of marijuana on campus there will be repercussions for their actions.
“UCO has no tolerance for illegal use of alcohol or drugs of any form.” Harp said. “UCO students risk arrest and incarceration as well as disciplinary action by the university, which could include suspension or expulsion.”
Prescription drug abuse is considered the same as marijuana, in the eyes of campus police, if the prescription was not issued to the student. Taking prescribed medicine from parents or other students, even if the act is done in with no foul intent, it is still illegal and there are still consequences.
“Prescription drug use and abuse is one of the largest health and safety threats in the state and nation,” Harp said. “Overdoses of prescription medication resulting in visits to an emergency room for treatment outnumber by far overdoses of controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, meth, etc. nationwide.”
The image of prescription drugs could be seen as a harmless substance or drug but the reality of the situation is that they are more harmful than any of the substances considered dangerous in society today.
“UCO police encounter illegal use of prescription drugs with much less frequency than we do marijuana, but it is still a problem for our campus, state and nation,” Harp said. “Over The Counter medicines are also abused, but reports to UCO police on this problem are not very high in number.”
The University of Central Oklahoma police officers partner with other offices on the UCO campus; Residence Life and the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention (ADAP) office assist in providing programming to UCO students.
For more information or assistance with an educational program on drug and alcohol problem, students can contact UCO police station at 405-974-2345 or the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention office at 405-974-2215.