Drugs and CMU

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

This is part of a series of journal posts for my drug court project seminar. Enjoy!

I recently got this email from CMU Campus Police:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On September 25, 2010, DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with the Carnegie Mellon University Police Department to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our homes and medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at the CMU Police Station located at 300 S. Craig Street (entrance on Filmore Street behind Quizno’s) .  The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction.  These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.  Flushing expired or unused drugs contaminates our water supplies.  All surrendered substances will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse.

4 of 4 California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) Flowers at Montana de Oro, Los Osos, CA* The program is anonymous.
* Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
* Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
* Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

When I first read it, it looked like Central Florida’s fabulous Guns for Kicks program (now in its 13th year). But no. They just want my old Vicadin or Ridalin. Both the pitch and the goal are a lot less sexy than a guns for kicks program, particularly since the DEA is offering nothing in return for my “surrendered substances”. It looks like a dull but potentially good program, though this email is pretty tone-deaf.

That the entire CMU campus received this email speaks to the overwhelming presence of drug issues in our culture. Whether drugs deserve this kind of billing should be open to debate.

Inpspiratonal Quote:

“Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system.”–P.J. O’Rourke


  1. I’ve never even read your blog, but this ended up in my news feed for some reason. Seriously, please do a little thinking before you spout off with posts like this. As the title of the email clearly indicates, this is a NATIONAL effort on the part of the DEA. That the entire CMU campus received the email has nothing to do with the presence of “drug issues in our culture”, they are simply passing on a note to students who use prescription drugs that they can dispose of them in a safe manner.

  2. I’m not clear on your concern–do you think CMU Police emailing the entire student body on behalf of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration does not speak to the odd role of drugs in our culture? I’m sorry if I startled you with my headline, but that is rather the point of headlines, yes? To catch attention of those who have never visited my blog?

    By the way, what’s with the fake email? As you’ve found, you’re free to comment anonymously, but for readers who can’t see the email attached to this comment, there is no tartannerd@cmu.edu (the email s/he gave) and so we shouldn’t assume the commenter has any connection to CMU. Feel free the comment and leave a real email, or email me at jessica dot dickinson [dot] goodman [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like to vent in private.

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