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UNH high on list of drunk driving, drug arrests

Rochester parents and educators might well be concerned that the University of New Hampshire’s reputation as a party school was enhanced by a recent report.

According to the report, UNH ranks eighth nationally “for drug and alcohol arrests per 1,000 students,” the school’s student newspaper reports. The paper doesn't state how many of the arrests are for DUI/DWI and how many are for underage alcohol possession.

The report published on Rehabs.com was of the schools with the highest reported alcohol and drug arrests from 2009 to 2011. UNH placed 37th in on-campus drug bust per 1,000 students and 20th for most on-campus alcohol-related arrests.

The university’s police department crime statistics appear to back the party reputation as well: between 2010 and 2012, more than 700 students were busted for alcohol-related reasons on the campus just south of Rochester.

Nearly 300 were arrested for possession of drugs in that same period.

The newspaper notes that drug and alcohol busts dominated the UNH police stats: only 18 people on campus were accused of aggravated assault during the period.

The school paper suggests that the seemingly high arrest numbers simply reflect the region’s culture. After all, the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 56 percent of survey respondents reported illicit drug use at least once in their lives. Seventeen percent said they had participated in illicit drug use in the past year; 11.4 percent said they had used illegal drugs within the past month.

While many might wave off the numbers, saying that most of the drug use involves marijuana, it should be noted that while there is certainly debate about the harm marijuana use might do, there is no doubt that an arrest harms a person’s ability to secure employment or pursue educational goals.

For those facing drug charges or a DWI/DUI accusation, a conversation with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help clarify legal options available to minimize damage to careers or academic pursuits. 

Source: New Hampshire Hotline, "UNH ranks high in college arrest statistics," Melissa Proulx, Feb. 14, 2014

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