TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Got pot?
Marijuana No. 1 drug used on TCU campus
Weed is readily accessible and prevalent on TCU’s campus, a survey shows.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of the names in this story have been changed at the request of those being interviewed and quoted. Names that have been changed are indicated.


By Erin Clark
Staff Reporter


Authorities say marijuana is the most common illegal drug used at TCU and a survey of students says it is also the most accessible.

In a survey of 700 TCU students conducted every two years, marijuana was the most frequently reported illegal drug used in the past 30 days at the time of the survey at 11.2 percent. Also in the 2002 survey, amphetamines followed at 2.4 percent and designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, at 1.3 percent.

Nonetheless, student marijuana use consistently ranks below the national average among college students, said Angela Taylor, director of alcohol and drug education.
According to a survey conducted earlier this semester about access to substances on campus, marijuana is also perceived as the most accessible drug on campus. The survey, conducted by sociology professor Michael Katovich, found that on the average, students who wish to obtain marijuana could do so within three hours.

“It’s really easy to get weed — about as easy as getting beer if you’re 21,” said “Andrew,” a student in the College of Science and Engineering. “In high school, it was harder to get beer than to get weed.”

Although Andrew agrees that pot use on campus is prevalent, he said he buys his weed off campus in a nearby Fort Worth neighborhood.

Jamie Johnson, a Fort Worth police officer, said he has not encountered TCU students with marijuana while patrolling the neighborhoods surrounding the university.“I’m not comfortable saying it’s not a problem,” Johnson said. “A lot more people use it than I’m aware of.”

Taylor said students tend to deny use of pot because there is still a social stigma associated with its use at the school.

“Ashley,” a junior in the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, agrees.

“TCU is conservative,” she said. “The attitude of a stereotypical TCU person is to look down on anyone that is different from them. The few people I know that don’t do (marijuana) really look down on it.”

Ashley said she began smoking marijuana her freshman year of college. Her first use was a combination of peer pressure and knowing the effects of marijuana, she said.

“I knew it wouldn’t mess me up like harder drugs,” she said.

Ashley said she thinks far worse drugs are legalized, such as alcohol and tobacco.

“I don’t know anyone that has ever been in a car wreck because of pot,” she said.

But Taylor says pot and academics are not a good equation on campus.

“Pot causes more problems for the individual reaching goals,” she said. “It affects memory, motivation and judgment.”

People are more apt to try another drug when they are under the influence of marijuana, Taylor said.

“Just because you smoke marijuana doesn’t mean you do other drugs, but accessibility to people with other substances will increase your accessibility window accordingly,” she said. “There is more opportunity.”

Taylor said it’s difficult to describe the typical pot smoker because marijuana transcends all social groups.

Although Andrew and Ashley say pot hasn’t affected their goals, they do know individuals who have been negatively affected by the drug.

“For a lot of people it probably is amotivational,” Andrew said. “But it’s not the drug, it’s the person.”

Andrew said he is currently doing well in his classes and maintains a 3.6 cumulative GPA.

Ashley said she thinks she is completely successful academically and said her GPA has risen steadily since freshman year.

“You just have to be smarter than the drug,” she said.

Andrew agrees.

“I smoke to relax; to forget about everything, like school,” he said. “But if I have something to do, I don’t get high.”

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