What is the risk of a drug charge in college?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Sending a child off to college is worrisome enough. Parents hope their children will make good choices and stay out of trouble. Yet, a college campus can be rife with peer pressure and stress. The combination of these factors can lead students to seek ways to take the edge off – and make mistakes.

In the last few years, drug use has become more common on campuses nationwide. So, what should parents know?

Increase in drug use among students

Alcohol is generally the most common substance college students use. They are away from home for the first time, with many weekend parties around them. Many of them are also nearing the legal drinking age of 21.

There are specific risks surrounding alcohol use in college, however, drug use has become a much larger problem as well. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021 saw the highest rates of drug use among college-age students – particularly marijuana and hallucinogens.

The escalated risk of drug charges

An increased rate of drug use could also mean an increased risk of facing drug charges. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, drug charges at the state level can quickly lead to federal drug charges, depending on the circumstances. Criminal charges at the federal level often involve steeper penalties.

There are often challenges on campus too

In addition to the risk of state and federal criminal charges, institutions of higher education also reserve the ability to discipline students for violating codes of student conduct. For example, the University of North Carolina Pembroke’s policy on alcohol and drugs specifically states that:

  • Students might be suspended or dismissed if they are under the influence in school
  • The university can take disciplinary action against students

Facing drug charges is no small matter, especially for students. Parents of college students should be aware of the risks and the options they have to defend their child’s future against mistakes like this.