Textbooks. School supplies. Meal plans. Student loans. Cab rides. These are just some of the bills that the average college student must pay, and for some, they are a stress that is alleviated by dealing illicit drugs.
According to the 2018-19 Binghamton University Code of Student Conduct, students engaging in the distribution of controlled substances, prescription drugs prescribed to another person or illegal drugs are subject to disciplinary sanctions. According to Investigator Mark Silverio of Binghamton’s New York State University Police Department (UPD), in all the cases he has seen of students dealing drugs at BU, the result has been expulsion.
“In my 13 years here, when we find someone who is actually dealing, we arrest them and charge them with sale and that has always resulted in expulsion,” Silverio said. “To my knowledge I do not believe that anyone we have ever caught dealing drugs has remained a student here after getting arrested.”
But despite the consequences, some students still deal. According to Pipe Dream’s 2019 drug survey, 102 respondents said they have dealt drugs before. One student, who deals marijuana and wished to remain anonymous, said dealing is easy money.
“I decided to do it because I knew I’d make money because I had friends to sell to,” the student said. “Worst comes to worst, I felt I wouldn’t get in trouble because I’d just be selling to close friends.”
Silverio said the most common drug that students are caught dealing tends to be forms of marijuana.
“The most frequent one is going to be marijuana and THC oil, concentrated cannabis and everything along that particular line,” Silverio said.
Dealing drugs to close friends is also very common, and according to Silverio, these are the types of cases UPD usually sees when investigating campus drug dealers.
“There is money to be made there,” Silverio said. “Obviously, that’s why they do it. In my experience here, most of the ones when we figure out where people are actually getting drugs from, a lot of the time it’s one person who will go and buy a little bit of a higher volume of weed, and then he just kind of goes and sells it to his friends for what he paid so that he has a little bit left as his.”
Marijuana is not the only drug making its way from student to student. Another anonymous source said they use their Adderall prescription to sell pills to students — something they said they do not consider a serious offense.
“I’m definitely not scared,” the source said. “It is kind of really hard for me to get caught if I’m just sharing my prescription with my good friends to make some extra cash, and I really think the cops have bigger issues to worry about than just a kid giving out some pills. Plus, I feel like we’re all trying to get an education over here, and if giving out my Adderall seems to help some students get their work done more efficiently, I don’t think it’s really a problem as long as I don’t get caught, and I don’t think I will as long as I’m careful about it.”
Silverio said although UPD cannot possibly catch all the students dealing drugs, they usually end up finding out who is dealing and what drugs they are selling.
“We take a lot of anonymous reports from people for whatever reason,” Silverio said. “‘They’re my neighbor, my roommate, my suitemate, the kids down the hall.’ So I think we do a fairly good job of figuring out who all of our dealers are a couple months into the semester.”
The number of students caught dealing drugs at BU varies from semester to semester, with some semesters seeing more incidents than others. According to Silverio, it is not unusual for officers to arrest several people per semester.
“A number of years ago, around when I first started here, we had one particular semester when we had identified I think three or four different rooms,” Silverio said. “We served search warrants on all of them at the same time.”
But some get out of the game before the police catch on. The anonymous student who dealt marijuana said they ultimately decided to stop dealing, because they began to feel that the risks outweighed the rewards.
“I knew it was time for me to stop when my parents found a scale and were onto me,” the student said. “I started to get the feeling that selling was below me, because I wanted to do bigger and better things in my life than selling drugs, and I don’t really need the money, so I didn’t think it was worth the possible consequences.”