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Minnesota college drug arrests are on the rise

Published 3:04pm Saturday, February 8, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS — A study of drug and alcohol arrests on U.S. college campuses brings some unwanted glory to schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Wisconsin schools swept the top three spots in the nationwide Drugs on Campus study, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth rated seventh.

The study examined arrests and sanctions from the year 2011, and looked at only those arrests occurring in residence halls or campus-owned buildings. Off-campus arrests were not considered.

The University of Wisconsin’s campuses in Oshkosh, Stout and La Crosse ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3. All of those colleges had more than 20 arrests per 1,000 students. The University of Minnesota-Duluth had 14 arrests for alcohol and drug offenses per 1,000 students.

“The numbers tell me we’re doing our job out there aggressively enforcing alcohol and drug laws,” University of Minnesota-Duluth police Lt. Sean Huls said. “It’s not surprising; our officers are out there working hard.”

Hannah Keil, a Minnesota-Duluth business student and representative on the Board of Regents, said the study’s findings don’t reflect poorly on her classmates.

“Being ranked so high on campus drugs and alcohol arrests doesn’t necessarily mean that students at UMD are using more,” Keil said. “But instead, it demonstrates that UMD Police Department and Duluth Police are doing their job. Personally, I feel very safe on this campus and much of that is owed to them for taking drug and alcohol instances seriously.”

University of Wisconsin campuses at Whitewater and Eau Claire finished 17th and 18th.

While the numbers are from a few years ago, there have been several recent cases in which Minnesota or Wisconsin college students either died or were severely injured from exposure to severe cold. Alcohol or drugs were known or suspected factors in those cases.