Within just one week, Drexel students have bared witness to two polar opposite events related to America’s war on drugs, and they’ve made us realize that we need to have a conversation about drug use at Drexel.
The first event was the high-profile bust of five people, including two students, in the breakup of a West Philadelphia LSD distribution ring. The bust of this ring, which reportedly sold $5,000 to $15,000 of colorful printed cartoons containing acid each week, shows that Drexel Public Safety and the administrators and agencies that were involved in the arrests are serious about keeping drugs off campus.
But ask around enough and you’ll likely find students getting caught smoking weed or drinking underage. Or just look at our weekly crime report on page 2. Drexel’s police and public safety officers have a strong anti-drug stance, as they should because there’s no ambiguity about these drugs being illegal. The University’s zero-tolerance policy regarding narcotics and drugs is as forceful as it can be. Simply put, if you get caught using drugs, you’re out of a Drexel education.
The second event was the surprise announcement and performance of one Long Beach rapper whose name is synonymous with drug use, Snoop Dogg. The artist has previously used his name to endorse marijuana-flavored candy and has been arrested and convicted numerous times during the last 10 years for weapons offenses and possession of drugs ranging from marijuana to cocaine. While there is no doubt that Snoop is a talented hip-hop artist, his popularity on Drexel’s campus helps illustrate the disparity between administrative and legal policies and student culture.
Towards the end of his set at last Saturday’s concert, Snoop asked the audience, “Who here smokes weed?” before jumping into his song “Young, Wild & Free” which includes themes of drug and alcohol use. The Drexel crowd responded with a resounding cheer.
At Drexel there seems to be a clear disconnect between the way our administration and the government handles drugs and the way drugs are represented in our student culture. This huge drug bust shows that there is a large market for drugs on campus, one that has been recently highlighted with the news of the local LSD ring. Police officers and students have said that this behavior isn’t indicative of Drexel students, yet these events pose the question: Exactly how much drug use is occurring on campus? The aforementioned clash in the mindsets of students and the administration suggests that there’s more drug abuse going on than is reported.