Drug usage has a more significant presence on Fairfield’s campus than some students may realize.

The release of the 2014 Jeanne Clery Report shows that the amount of arrests for drug abuse violations on campus increased to 52 in 2013, exactly 20 more than the year prior. Disciplinary referrals for drugs also increased to 94 this year, 25 more than last year.

Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety John Ritchie explained the process of reporting incidents involving drugs in more detail.

While Fairfield’s numbers may appear a bit higher than other institutions, Ritchie said that it is because of DPS’s serious commitment to accurately reporting everything that happens.

“We’ve always been doing it all along. We try to look at the actual written letter of the law … Let’s not skirt around it. We think it’s an injustice to try to fudge numbers and skirt around it,” said Ritchie.

“The Clery report is giving you the number of people referred for disciplinary infraction. If we go on an incident and there’s four kids passing a bowl around, that’s one incident for us. But the Dean of Students’ office will tell you that’s four referrals,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie also continued to say that some incidents didn’t actually involve people.

“We had some cases where we might say there’s drugs found, maybe because somebody turned in some pills they found on the ground. It could be someone who legitimately had the pills prescribed and dropped them,” he said.

Although some incidents might not involve people at all, Ritchie said that other incidents have involved non-students, high school students and those who attend on-campus concerts.

When asked about the increase in drug use, Ritchie said he didn’t know the reason why.

“I can only speculate that more students are using drugs… I think they’re just more common use,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie also mentioned that he believes people may be misled by a 2011 change in Connecticut legislation that lessened the ramifications for possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana.

“What they did is they changed it from a misdemeanor to an infraction. And a lot of people took that as decriminalizing [it] meaning it’s completely legal,” said Ritchie. “They didn’t say it’s legal. They simply changed the category of the crime.”

There are a variety of drugs that have been found on campus, but “the most prevalent [drug that is abused] is probably some type of prescription drug. What we see the most of is marijuana because … the smell leads us to it,” said Ritchie.

When asked about other drugs, Ritchie mentioned that DPS “occasionally” finds cocaine and Molly.

“It’s a matter of us stumbling upon it for whatever reason … It could be because they have marijuana, which leads us to them, and then some type of additional drugs are found in conjunction with marijuana,” said Ritchie.

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Lisa Arnold agreed that Molly has a presence on campus.

“I get mostly mandated students from the Dean’s Office who have been written up. Their experience with Molly isn’t usually the one that got them written up … When they come here and I start the conversation about drugs, that’s when they’ll tell me that they’ve experimented with Molly,” said Arnold.

From the 200 students she usually sees a semester, Arnold explained that at least 40 percent have at least tried Molly.

“It’s more than you think,” she said. “And it’s typically not addictive for them … Most kids are just playing with it.”

According to Arnold, Molly has been used at concerts on campus, specifically Bingo Players and Diplo/Krewella. Ritchie and Arnold both speculate that Molly use is synonymous with electronic dance music.

DPS does not expect trouble with Molly at this year’s fall concert featuring Love & Theft.

“It’s earlier in the day and it’s a different type of music. [Students are] not going to pop pills to trip out on electric lights and music. It’s not that type of environment,” said Ritchie.

When asked what kind of drugs are associated with country music, Ritchie stated “beer drinking and meth” but says that DPS doesn’t expect anyone at Fairfield’s concert to be high on meth.

“Meth isn’t really a college person drug. Traditionally speaking, people who turn to meth have already gone through all the other drugs and they’re seeking cheaper options for a high,” he said. “However, we fear the day that we find that it becomes prevalent on campus.”

When students were asked about the presence of drugs on campus, many students said that they didn’t realize drugs were on campus.

“I don’t really hear anything besides what’s written in The Mirror,” said commuter Joselyn Ordonez ‘18.

Junior Wenpu Tu agreed with this statement.

“I only heard more about drugs two years ago … That some student was arrested for doing drugs,” she said.

Other students, such as Nick Walsh ‘17, mentioned that there was a marijuana presence on campus.

“I don’t really know much about hard drugs, but I don’t think they’re here too much. Marijuana seems to be less present here than other schools,” said Walsh.

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