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Underage Drinking and Drug Possession at College

Anyone arrested for underage drinking or drug possession faces serious legal penalties, but students also face consequences on campus. Colleges and Universities in North Carolina each have their own policies regarding drinking and drug use, but most of them include on-campus sanctions in addition to the criminal consequences.

At the University of North Carolina Asheville, the school's policy on drug possession and underage drinking includes a wide range of punishments. Students risk being removed from the dorms and even expelled from school if they are caught with an illegal substance, but they may get off with only community service time for a first offense.

Many college students and university administrators suggest that it is inevitable that students under the age of 21 will drink alcohol at school, and many students will also smoke marijuana. One senior at the University of North Carolina Asheville put it this way: "I think college is a time to experiment. The prevalence of drugs in society is nothing new, nor is college kids taking them."

Students and policy-makers alike recognize that students can face consequences long into the future if they are caught drinking or in possession of marijuana. Expulsion from school in addition to the criminal record can make it difficult for those students to get jobs, and any arrests for drug violations in the future could carry harsh penalties.

There is good news for students, however. The number of on-campus youth arrests for drug possession is falling. For example, UNC Asheville campus police arrested 26 people for drug crimes in 2005. In 2008, they only arrested eight students for similar violations.

Source: The Blue Banner, "Illegal drugs have presence on campus," Jess Peete, 22 Sept 2010

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