Angela Avery's Blog

Alcohol Use On Campus

Posted in Uncategorized by aavery on September 13, 2010

Back-to-school means rising alcohol use

By Angela Avery | THE EASTERN ECHO

Added September 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Is the use of drugs and alcohol on college campuses as widespread as reported in the past? Everyone knows when fall semester commences, parties begin at universities around the nation, but something happening at these gatherings isn’t taken seriously enough.

“Since classes have been in session – right now, we just in the last week received about 50 to 60 cases of Minor in Possession and other drug and alcohol related offenses,” Chris Conrad, supervisor of Washtenaw’s 14th District Court, said.

“Over the summer, very few people have come through with these types of charges,” he said. “The first month is usually the worst — when school is in session is when it is the worst here.”

When a minor is caught in possession of alcohol on the first offense, it will cost him or her a $210 fine, according to Conrad.

On top of this fine, the offender will receive three to four months of reporting probation and have to participate in a class designed to educate people on alcohol and the problems associated with excessive drinking.

According to Conrad, one positive outcome for a first time offender is the charge will eventually be erased from their record upon successful completion of the program. However, if there is another offense following the first, the consequences are much harsher.

“They don’t understand that it’s going to come back and bite them later in life and this is only a one time shot they have—the second offense is much worse—and another big thing is that once it has gone onto their permanent record, it is information that everyone can see,” he said.

“If a friend came in here asking to see their friend’s criminal record, I have to show it to them.” “I have been around plenty of people who have been intoxicated and have seen many of my friends pass out before,” Cameron Thomas, a sophomore at Eastern, said.

“I admit that at times in the past I have been extremely intoxicated and even having periods of lost memory due to drinking too much.” “Last summer while at a gas station in Ohio, my friend actually passed out in the gas station, fell over and hit his head on a shelf giving him a concussion,” said Thomas.

According to Eastern Michigan University Police Lieutenant Jeff Nesmith, there have already been a few students who have received citations this semester.

“Between the second and 10th of September, if I had to pull up some preliminary numbers, there have been eight people charged with Minor in Possession,” Lieutenant Nesmith said.

“There have also been a couple of other charges relating to drugs and paraphernalia as well.” “If a student is busted and suspected to be guilty, they can end up with a ticket, a write up or [be] reported to Student Conduct and Community Standards,” Nesmith said.

Lance Fortney, a sophomore at EMU, remembers some of his own experiences and understands that students do not always ask for help when it is much needed. “My experience with those who, in my opinion, have drinking problems has been pretty intense,” Fortney said.

“Some people who would fall into this category would include close family and friends. Many of whom go to our university. None of these people are attending any form of treatment.”

There are many places for students who may potentially have an issue with alcohol or drugs. One of those places is the Huron Valley Intergroup located on South Huron Street in Ypsilanti. There are many resources available there to those interested in learning more about addiction.

“The purpose of Huron Valley Intergroup is to provide parents, students, colleagues, friends, family members of alcoholics and alcoholics with resources in the program,” Linda said, an outreach volunteer at Huron Valley Intergroup and A.A. for 35 years.

“Physiologically, the body metabolizes alcohol in a different way for alcoholics rather than for those who do not have a problem with addiction—this is called the ‘Disease Model,’” Linda said.

“The worst symptom is the craving for more,” Linda said. “No matter what consequences an alcoholic may have, they always want more because it’s a mood elevator and the person may want that instant change and will ignore all consequences and all the evidence because of drinking and they have an abnormal reaction to alcohol.”

According to Linda, anyone is invited to join Alcoholics Anonymous. People from all walks of life, from doctors and lawyers to homeless are all welcome. Linda urges people to participate in recovery if necessary, but willingness to stop drinking is important for success at a closed meeting. She suggests people who are forced to attend go to open meetings rather than closed.

“No one wants to share their business at an A.A. meeting to other people who are just taking up space,” Linda said.

Linda suggested a website called and “Students in Recovery” on Facebook for students who think they may need resources for alcoholism and addiction. According to Linda, there are many resources available for students on and off campus.


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