The University of Wyoming isn’t particularly known as a party school, but students there apparently do like to drink, and don’t always do it wisely. It has the dubious honor of making the top of the list in a recent study of arrests at colleges for alcohol-related offenses. There were 189.6 of them per 10,000 students in 2017, an increase of 70.3% from 2015.
It’s no secret that drugs and alcohol are a part of the college experience for many. Sometimes the effects are relatively benign, especially if the indulgence is occasional and not excessive – but they can also be tragic. Dangerous binge drinking, overdoses, deaths from alcohol poisoning related to fraternity hazing, and various kinds of drug- and alcohol-related crime, sexual and otherwise, are all of grave concern. Many schools have instituted stricter policies regarding alcohol and drug usage, and some colleges have even sobered up.
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Have new measures and enforced sobriety necessarily resulted in lower rates of offenses serious enough to provoke arrests? The answer is unclear.
Ocean Breeze Recovery, a drug and alcohol rehab facility in southeastern Florida, recently compiled statistics on arrests and disciplinary actions around intoxicants using campus safety and security data from the Office of Postsecondary Education. While the numbers show increases in many cases, Ocean Breeze points out that this might just be due to more vigilant oversight and reporting and more crackdowns on violations of the law or of campus policy.
The study also reveals that the northeastern portion of the country has the highest numbers of both alcohol- and drug-related arrests (8.3 and 7.4 per 10,000 students, respectively), while the southern states, despite the stereotypes, have the lowest (2.5 and 3.8).
In any case, the statistics are sometimes, it might be said, sobering.
Following Wyoming, West Chester University of Pennsylvania showed the second-highest number of alcohol-related arrests in 2017, 184.9 per 10,000, but that represented an increase of only 1.6% over 2015. In third place was the University of New Hampshire, with 177 arrests, an 8.1% decline over the past two years.
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In terms of campus disciplinary actions, as opposed to arrests, Coastal Carolina University led the pack with 1,013.8 instances, a 14.3% increase over 2015. The school was also in third place for most drug arrests in 2017, 106.9, representing a 44.3% increase since 2015. The University of Colorado Boulder had the most drug arrests – 128.5, a 105.4% increase – with Ohio University next with 110.3.