Drug use is extremely common on college campuses in the U.S. In fact, recent studies show that attending college full time doubles your likelihood of abusing drugs or alcohol—as compared to not attending college at all.
For many students, drug use may seem like the norm, and it may be easy to fall under the mistaken impression that such behavior in college is accepted. However, getting caught with drugs—even marijuana—can spell serious consequences for your future. Here are three things any college student should know about doing drugs:
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug by college students. Marijuana possession of any kind is illegal in Missouri—whether for recreational or medicinal use. Penalties depend on the amount of marijuana you’re caught with and whether you have any prior convictions. If you’re found in possession of less than 35 grams of the drug, it’s considered a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you could be looking at a $2,000 fine, a year in jail or both.
In addition to the immediate legal penalties, the offense also has long-term consequences. Drug charges go onto your permanent criminal record. This means that the drug possession will show up anytime anyone does a background check on you—which can impact your ability to get a job or rent an apartment.
Your college may impose their own penalties for drug possession. You could face academic probation or suspension. In addition, if you rack up too many absences due to your probation/suspension or jail time, then your graduation may be delayed. Furthermore, having a drug offense on your criminal record could limit your likelihood of being accepted to grad school.
With student loan debt at an all-time high, the $2,000 fine you risk for drug possession may already seem like a tough pill to swallow. Beyond that, when you’re caught with illegal drugs, you also risk having your government student aid revoked. This can be a devastating blow to a college student—rendering their studies unaffordable.
Staying educated about the consequences of drug abuse can help prevent you from making one poor decision that negatively affects the rest of your life.