OUPD sees uptick in marijuana related calls

GRAPHIC BY JAKE NEWTON
GRAPHIC BY JAKE NEWTON

The Ohio University Police Department fielded 160 drug-related calls in 2014.

For Martha Compton, the director of OU Community Standards and Student Responsibility, that isn’t exactly surprising.

“If there is a drug out there, I’m pretty sure it’s been on this campus at some point,” Compton said.

OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan said the most common drugs on campus are marijuana, prescription pills, cocaine, MDMA (also known as molly), psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 9.20.39 AM

Though she sees a wide range of drugs used on campus, Compton said students most commonly get caught with marijuana.

There were 46 drug-related calls for marijuana paraphernalia or the illegal use or possession of marijuana in 2014, according to OUPD reports.

“We get a lot of reports,” Compton said. “But, I think it’s not abnormal right now.”

Compton attributes the recent uptick in usage to the shifting views nationwide on marijuana.

“There’s a trend or shift in the nation of how we view marijuana,” Compton said. “The more and more we view marijuana as normal, the more of shift we see on campus.”

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — as well as in Washington D.C. Additionally, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana.

“It’s a common issue,” Compton added. “It’s definitely something we’re concerned about.”

Ryan said that though it was hard to pin down exactly where on campus the department gets the most calls from, he had a pretty good guess.

“Off the top of my head, I would probably say in and around residence halls,” Ryan said.

Of the 160 calls, 117 came from residential halls in 2014. According to OUPD’s call log, 50 of those were from South Green, 35 from East Green and 32 from West Green.

 OU student Anthony Negrini, a freshman studying history, said that wasn’t surprising.

“(It’s students) being idiots and smoking in their rooms and dorms,” Negrini said.

Despite the numbers, Erica Gonzales, a junior studying communication science and disorders, pegged South Green as the place with the most police present responding to calls.

“I see that more often,” Gonzales said.

After receiving those calls, Ryan said officers are dispatched to the scene. Once they arrive, further actions depend on the officer.

“It’s an officer’s discretionary move to warn or charge or arrest, depending on the severity of the crime,” Ryan said.

Even if an officer decides to only give a student a warning, students can still face repercussions from the university.

“Typically, the student is called in for an interview,” Compton said. “There, they can admit or deny the charges.”

If a student admits to the charges, Compton said the problem could be resolved with an administrative meeting. Students can also choose to fight the charges, she added.

Both of those processes take time, Compton said, but under some conditions, students are immediately suspended.

“This is typically if they’re a risk to the community,” Compton said.

@emilybohatch

eb346012@ohio.edu

http://www.thepostathens.com/news/oupd-sees-uptick-in-marijuana-related-calls/article_4dd00260-e6f8-11e4-a79b-bf3f2d4e2b0b.html

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