Work hard, play hard.
This is a common phrase among college students, but is it leading Kent State University students down the path of drug and alcohol abuse?
Officer Michquel Penn, the Community Resource Officer of the Kent State University Police Department, has seen many drug and alcohol abusers while serving as an on-duty, on-campus police officer, but does not think there is an abuse problem.
“Statistically, comparing to the number of students that we have,” Penn said. “It doesn’t look like ‘Wow, there’s a huge problem there.’”
There are only six reports of drugs violations on campus since Sept. 4th with two being in the dorms, a low number compared to how many students are on campus. However, a majority of students at Kent State live off campus, letting Penn believe that most drug abuse occurs there.
When drugs are found on campus, they usually occur outside in a parking lot or wooded area by on-foot patrolling officers. When drugs are found in dorms, the police department gets calls from Resident Services or are tipped by security. If the police have probable cause, such as smelling marijuana, they are able to enter the room to search.
If small quantities of marijuana is found, the student is given a minor misdemeanor charge. If drug paraphernalia is found, such as a bong or pipe with drug residue, they receive a misdemeanor of the first degree, a higher charge.
The most commonly used drugs at Kent State are alcohol and marijuana. This doesn’t mean harder and more dangerous drugs don’t exist on campus. Last year, there were reports of heroin fatalities in Portage County as heroin popularity increases. Fortunately, no fatalities occurred on campus.
For students looking for help, there are many places to go in Kent, Penn says.
“Over in Deweese (Health Center), in the Office of Health Promotion, they have programs within their office and in the building that would help a student,” she said. “Unfortunately if they’ve gone through the court system, we have a referral program that will put them back in touch here. There’s Townhall II, they also have PSAP (Portage Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition).”
The Kent State police department also attends many events on campus. Future events include the 2nd Annual Safety Awareness Day on Sept. 10th. The event includes K-9 demonstrations, information tables, first responder vehicle display and an ODOT distracted driving simulator.
The police department also attends smaller events in clubs and groups around Kent State to talk about things ranging from drug abuse to sexual abuse.
With more resources such as the Kent Police Department, Townhall II and PSAP, more stories and statistics will be revealed.