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Drug Bust Highlights College Students' Rising Drug Use
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More American college students are using illegal drugs, and the rates of drug-related crimes such as robbery and assault on campus are also on the rise. According to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), twice as many college students used marijuana every day in 2005 as did in 1993. 52% more students used other illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Almost half of all college students now use illegal drugs, the study reports.

"The drug problem on American campuses has become so extensive that more and more university police are finding they don't have the manpower to fight it by themselves," says CASA's Joseph Califano. Police at San Diego State University recently enlisted the aid of the Drug Enforcement Administration's San Diego field division in a five-month sting operation on that campus.

A student's death by drug overdose in May 2007 motivated the undercover investigation. A second student died of cocaine overdose in February 2008, while the operation was still in progress.

75 students and 21 non-students were arrested and accused of drug-related offenses. Police made over 130 drug seizures, and also confiscated $60,000 in cash, a shotgun, three semi-automatic pistols, and three sets of brass knuckles.

"This operation shows how accessible and pervasive illegal drugs continue to be on our college campuses, and how common it is for students to be selling to other students," said Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County's District Attorney. Seven fraternities hosted and were responsible for most of the organized drug dealing at SDSU.

One accused drug dealer was about to receive a master's degree in homeland security. As a student Community Service Officer he reported to campus police. Another student, accused of possession of 500 grams of cocaine and two guns, was majoring in criminal justice.

Eileen Zeidler, a spokeswoman for the San Diego DEA, praised SDSU for "addressing a problem that is rampant on U.S. campuses." (Washington Times, 5-7-08, Christian Science Monitor, 5-9-08)

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