WSU upholds current drug policies

Drug policies at WSU remain in tact with federal law and prohibits use of all substances.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

While cannabis may be legal under state law, WSU is held to federal law when it comes to what is legal to use and what is not.

Karen Metzner, director of the Center for Community Standards, said her office is meant to support and defend students, as well as hold people accountable.

“When something happens that violates our policies we look at what tools can help the students be back on track and be successful and meet our community expectations,” Metzner said.

Metzner said there have not been any major changes related to drug policy since 2017. There was a major code revision in spring 2019 but it did not affect WSU’s drug policy.

Metzner said all drugs are prohibited on campus because WSU receives federal financial aid and has to follow federal drug laws.

“Our prohibited conduct really closely models state and federal law,” she said. “That includes possession, manufacturing of marijuana and narcotics.”

Paula Adams, director of health promotion, said her office serves the purpose of substance abuse prevention and outreach to students in Pullman, including the e-checkup for incoming undergraduate students under the age of 21.

“I think that definitely the mandatory program we have for incoming students is important because it walks people through some of the norms and expectations for substance abuse on campus,” Adams said.

Adams said there have been no policy changes related to drug use prevention in the past few years.

“We haven’t observed anything that looks like increased use, at least, anything that doesn’t fit statewide or nationwide trends,” she said. “Obviously when cannabis became decriminalized it became more open and more people were using it, but that’s not specific to WSU or WSU students.”

When it comes to setting standards at WSU related to drug use, Adams said the most difficult part is prevention because it is difficult to stop people from making the choice to use drugs.

The most common substances students are caught using are alcohol and cannabis, Metzner said. Besides the Center for Community Standards, Cougar Health Services Counseling and Psychological Services are good to go for help with substance abuse problems.

“For cannabis use, the most common outcome for first-time referral to an online class,” she said. “If we start to look at the contribution of controlled substances above and beyond cannabis there are more serious consequences for that.”

When it comes to setting standards at WSU related to drug use, Adams said the most difficult part is prevention, because of continued use and peer pressure.

For students suffering from substance abuse, the best places to reach out to are your healthcare providers, be it physical or mental, she said.

Metzner said another one of the best places for students to seek help with addiction is Cougs for Recovery, a relatively new space. She emphasizes she hopes all students understand the center for community standards is committed to helping students through their ups and downs.

“The vast majority of our cases are resolved through a one-on-one conversation with a conduct officer,” she said. “If you have a concern, reach out, because we’re here to help.”