Editorial: No summer substance abuse

Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2005, Ram Cigar

05/10/05 - This summer, please don't abuse any substances. Don't drink too much alcohol or do illegal drugs. It will only lead to trouble in the future.

This warning is especially relevant following last week's marijuana-related felony and misdemeanor arrests of University of Rhode Island students in Narragansett. Students should realize that they are old enough to be held accountable for their actions. Although some would say marijuana use by college students is a standard, and should not be harshly penalized, it is still against the law and students are still subject to the law.

College is a time when students become adults and learn to function in society, and drinking alcohol responsibly may be all right in that society. But don't get out of hand. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, alcohol abuse is a significant problem on college campuses and it is getting worse. However, URI is different from the norm and is one out of only nine schools to reduce incidences of binge drinking.

In the early 1990s, alcohol was a problem at URI and it was named the top 'party school' in the country. But now, just because it is a 'dry' campus does not mean the problem is solved.

The substance abuse recovery room proposed last week by a URI student is a great idea and should improve the welfare of the community. Even if it only helps one student, which is a definite underestimate, it will have been worth the effort. The university has a strong background in substance abuse help - including having a president who was nationally honored for abuse prevention - but the university should always search for new ways to help students.

The new program might not have any affect on students' grades, but it will help students. In Thursday's Cigar a former Community College of Rhode Island student said she was a heroin addict and still maintained good grades in school. However, the student suffered in other aspects of her life and this program might help URI students to stay away from similar problems in their private lives.

This program will be in addition to many other services already on campus. Already available to students are programs through the Office of Student Life and information from Health Services.

So, although a new program might be around to help next semester, take it easy this summer and don't get into any trouble. And if any students feel that they are already having substances abuse problems, please seek out a program that will help.