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Drug, Alcohol Arrests Rise on College Campuses


Summer 1999

A report issued by the Chronicle of Higher Education on arrests on college campuses for 1997 showed a 7.2% increase in drug arrests and a 3.6% increase in alcohol related arrests, the 6th straight year that the number of drug arrests rose. The University of California-Berkeley ranked first among drug arrests, with 179, and third among alcohol arrests with 460. Michigan State University had the highest number of alcohol related arrests, 633, but was not among the top for drug offenses. The Chronicle failed to convert these numbers to rates, dooming the largest universities to stigmatization (Julie L. Nicklin, "Colleges Report Increases in Arrests for Drug and Alcohol Violations," Chronicle of Higher Education, May 28, 1999, p. A39; "College Drug Arrests Up for 6th Year," Orange County Register, May 23, 1999, p. A12).

Often the increase is attributed to tougher enforcement policies. S. Daniel Carter, vice president of Security on Campus Inc., a nonprofit organization that works with universities and colleges on campus crime, explained "there is a greater attention to security concerns at colleges because the consumers - parents - forced schools to make campuses safer" ("Drug and Alcohol-Related Arrests Increase at Colleges," New York Times, May 23, 1999).

In Berkeley's case, a large number of the arrests are due to the surrounding community, as only 22 of the arrests there involved UC students. The editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Jaschik, said, "some [colleges] are saying it is tougher enforcement. Some say there is more substance abuse, which leads to the behavior that causes arrest" (Dana Hull, "Dubious Lead for Bay Area Campuses," San Jose Mercury, May 23. 1999).

S. Daniel Carter Security on Campus, Inc., 215 West Church Road, Suite 200, King Of Prussia, PA 19406-3207, Tel: (610) 768-9330, Fax: (610) 768-0646, E-mail: <>.

Scott Jaschik, Editor - Chronicle of Higher Education, 1255 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037, Tel: (202) 466-1005, E-mail: <>, Web: <>.