It is no secret that some college students experiment with drugs and alcohol. It’s part of the college experience of discovering who you are and what you are or are not interested in.
I’d like to say that most students over-indulge once or twice, then realize they do not want to do that again, and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as evidenced by two deaths within two years at Reed College from heroine overdoses.
Now, Colin Diver, Reed’s president, has been ordered by local law enforcement authorities to get the drug abuse at Reed College under control. This could prove to be quite a problem, since Reed College has long been known as a hot-spot for drug use.
“When you say Reed, two words often come to mind,” Diver said. “One is brains. One is drugs.”
Local law enforcement agents will be doing their part to combat the recent increase of drug abuse by going undercover at the school’s Renn Fayre, an annual festival that is a central aspect Reed’s student life.
“They said Renn Fayre has a reputation in Portland that draws people from outside the college who are users and dealers and distributors of drugs,” Diver said. “They suggested undercover agents because they said we wouldn’t be able deal with large, well-organized criminal networks on our own.”
Diver sent a campus-wide email, encouraging students to be on their best behavior and to not use illegal drugs, such as “marijuana, hallucinogens, designer drugs, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates or other illegal substances.” The letter also warned that “the well-being of the college depends on how everyone behaves next weekend and beyond. So does the future of Renn Fayre.”
Many students thought the email was threatening or too sensational.
One student, Daire McFadden, claimed to be anxious about the fair. He also said that he did not think drugs were more commonly used at Reed than any other college campus.
Another student, Sam Biddle, was not concerned that the email would dampen the atmosphere of Renn Fayre.
“The majority of Reed students recognize that we’re not an exception to federal and state law,” Biddle said, “and I think everyone’s primary concern is that this be a safe and wonderful celebration. When we gather in front of the library for the Thesis Parade, and there’s music and dancing and confetti and flower petals, and we burn the first draft of our theses, it’s a collective display of joy that I don’t think I’ll ever top.”