Public Safety continues struggle against drugs

Nick Sabatino

Recent rumors circling the campus have spoken of a “crack-down” on drugs this year at the University.

According to Public Safety Director Jeffery Horton, a drug-related arrest on campus early in the semester sparked this rumor among students, but he maintains that the school is continuing what it normally does to fight drugs on campus.

“We’re just keeping our eyes and ears open, and developing things we hear,” Horton said.

Horton explains that we may not have the same drug issues that some big state schools may run across, but we should not be fooled by our image.

“We’re not naïve. We know stuff happens,” Horton explained. “We must attack through prevention, education and enforcement. Getting all three of these working equally is the key.”

“Authority can do what it will, that’s their job,” a University student said, adding, “but it’s not going to stop me from doing what I want to do because it’s not hurting anybody.”

On a national level, legislation has been passed to combat substance abuse in colleges through the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act.

University president, Fr. Dobbin, O.S.A, has relayed this national message through a campus-wide e-mail.

“Villanova University has a deep and continuing commitment to achieving an educational community free of substance abuse,” Fr. Dobbin wrote in the e-mail that addressed this subject.

“We are concerned for the well-being of any individual who has a problem with alcohol or drug abuse.  We stand ready to arrange or provide counseling and education through a variety of programs for those with drug and/or alcohol dependence problems.”

A 2003 survey of Villanova students, more people responded to never trying marijuana (46 percent) than those that had done it more than once (43 percent). Also, between 95 percent and 99 percent of University students had never even tried substances commonly known as harder drugs, such as cocaine, mushrooms or heroin.

In comparison, according to, among high school seniors, 49 percent had tried marijuana and 9 percent had tried cocaine.

As for legal problems, on a campus of 6,700 18-23 year-olds, there have been five drug related on-campus arrests and 119 drug related violations in the past four years.

The majority of University students abstain from drugs on a regular basis.

Many believe that there is a stigma on drugs and drug users at University, especially among those that use drugs.

“I’ve come across a lot of people who look down on me, or see me different once they found out I smoke pot,” said one anonymous student.

“You just have to find the right people because there are more of them out there than people think.”

Yet it remains that drug users and especially dealers should be aware because, as Horton said, “We’re going to go after them hard.”