Just 10 days after police charged a 38-year-old man with possession of hydrocodone and five rocks of crack cocaine at the U of M Lambuth Campus, a U of M custodian found four grams of methamphetamine in an empty bedroom at Centennial Place. Campus police also found four grams of marijuana at the “Bluff City Bash” on Nov.10.
While a U of M custodian was cleaning an empty bedroom, he found a white and powdery substance wrapped in cellophane under a desk, according to a police report written by officer James Vickers. The custodian reported the substance to his boss in her office at Centennial Place, according to the report, and Residence Life then called campus police. The package tested positive for four grams of methamphetamine and was tagged in the property room of 201 Poplar Ave., according to the report.
Earlier this week The Daily Helmsman reported that on Nov. 3, police charged a 38-year-old man with possession of hydrocodone and five rocks of crack cocaine at Varnell Jones Hall at the U of M Lambuth Campus. The suspect admitted to taking 10 milligrams of hydrocodone and smoking marijuana before the officer found the rocks in his possession, according to a police report written by officer Jenny Smith.
“Other than their unusual nature, we are not seeing any trend or causal links among these reports,” Derek Myers, assistant chief of campus police, said.
Most of the drug offenses campus police deal with involve marijuana, Myers said.
During the “Bluff City Bash” concert, officer Glenda Bowie found a small bag of marijuana while working the eastern gate. The “baggie” was found thrown under a table at the concert check-in, according to a police report written by Bowie. The bag was then weighed at dispatch and identified as four grams of marijuana. The source of the drug is unknown, according to the report. A drug/weapons report was filed, and the substance was tagged at the Memphis Police Department property room.
It is not common for campus police to find drugs in this way, according to Myers.
“It is more common to get a call to investigate possible use and to have suspects than it is to find drugs abandoned,” Myers said.
The types of drugs in some of these recent reports are also uncommon, Myers said.
A previous Daily Helmsman story highlighted how many college students were found to have been offered cocaine in a study by University of Maryland’s school of public health and psychology department as well as the Treatment Research Institute. In the longitudinal study of 1,253 college students, over a quarter (36 percent) had been asked to use cocaine and 13 percent had used the substance.
Myers told The Daily Helmsman in September even small amounts of cocaine are a Class C Felony under Tennessee law, which would result in an arrest. The state’s law declares a person convicted of such a felony is subject to paying a fine of up to $10,000 and serving a prison term for three to 15 years.
Myers said all drugs are taken to the Memphis Police Department property room (or Jackson Police for the Lambuth campus), regardless of circumstance or suspect information, where they get tested and weighed before being stored. All substances get treated the same as far as the seizure process, he said.
The Drug-Free Campus and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Policy states “the U of M prohibits students and employees from engaging in the unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution or manufacture of controlled substances” in accordance with local, state and federal law. The purpose of this policy is “to convey the university’s care and concern for the members of the campus community,” given alcohol abuse and other drug use on college campuses “is a major public health concern.”
The policy states students and Registered Student Organizations are required to comply with this policy, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the University Student Housing Policy. Students and RSOs are subject to disciplinary action for any violation of this policy.