Declining drug incidents reported at dorm

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Since 2010, drug related incident reports at Juniper Hall have been decreasing. From Sep. 1, 2010 through Feb. 1, 2011 there were 16 drug related incidents in Juniper Hall at Central Oregon Community College. This number decreased to nine incidents from Sep. 1, 2012 through Feb. 1, 2013, according to Jim Bennet, COCC campus’s public safety officer.
Molly Svendsen
The Broadside
These incidents include any investigated leads of suspected drug related activity. Only the reports serious enough to require any further investigation turn into actual cases, said Bennet.
“Some are along the lines of suspicious odor that someone thought was drugs,” said Bennet. “These are the types which don’t get a case number.”
The number of  incidents which became cases has also been decreasing. From Sep. 1, 2012 through Feb. 2, 2013 only eight of the incidents were given a case number, compared to Sep. 1, 2010 through Feb. 1, 2011 when 16 incidents were assigned a case number, according to Bennet.
This decrease, although slight, is a positive step for the campus, said Bennet.
“It is a little reduction,” said Bennet. “But for our campus, this little bit…it is a good thing.”
This decrease is due in part to an increase in communication between Campus Public Safety and residence hall directors, said Paul Wheeler, COCC’s on-campus housing coordinator.
“It shows an improved relationship with campus public safety,” said Wheeler. “As soon as residence directors are finding out about this problem, they are contacting public safety.”
Residence directors have also been seeking to add more programs that would help to better inform students about drug use and abuse. This increase in awareness has helped to increase student responsibility, said Wheeler.
“We now provide educational programs and information about drug use and abuse,” said Wheeler. “This information has the potential to guide students to better choices, and has possibly encouraged this decrease by holding students responsible if they choose to use [drugs] on campus.”
Wheeler believes that it is still uncertain whether the decrease in on-campus drug use has resulted in an increase in drug use off-campus.
“There is no way to prove that the increase in off-campus drug use is connected to the decrease in use in the residence hall,” said Wheeler. “It is outside of our jurisdiction and responsibility to the residence hall.”
Wheeler believes that the decrease in drug use at Juniper Hall will be helpful for the future of COCC.
“It’s good for campus community and it is important for people to know about this decrease,” said Wheeler. “With the campus looking to construct more on-campus housing, it is good to [show] that we can manage this.”
(Contact: msvendsen@cocc.edu)

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