Drug use of any kind used to be something that people didn’t talk about or approve of. However, drug use has become increasingly acceptable in American pop culture. From television shows glamorizing people cooking methamphetamine to the legalization of marijuana in states across the country, attitudes about recreational drug use have changed.
The laws, on the other hand, have not changed nearly as quickly. While states may take a more lenient approach toward certain drugs these days, the federal government has the same harsh stance it has had since the beginning of the war on drugs. Unfortunately for young people paying more attention to culture than to rules, the idea that drug use is less serious than it once was could lead them to make mistakes during their college years that could negatively impact their educational prospects.
Experimenting with drugs in high school or college is dangerous
There are many risks associated with youthful experimentation with psychoactive substances. There is always the potential risk for an adverse reaction or overdose that could leave someone injured or dead.
Beyond that, people have to consider the potential for legal consequences. Getting caught while under the influence of drugs or in possession of them could mean major changes to your plans for the future. Students will have to worry about not just potential criminal consequences but also the educational fallout of a drug charge.
Some schools will expel or suspend those accused of any kind of crime. Students can also face disciplinary hearings and review from any third-party organization providing a scholarship.
Federal policy eliminates student aid for drug offenders
While college may be a time for exploring new horizons and pushing boundaries, that doesn’t mean that law enforcement or the courts will turn a blind eye toward illegal drug use by college students any more than they will ignore similar offenses made by high school students.
Although pleading guilty to the charges may seem like the simplest solution, entering a guilty plea to minimize criminal consequences can affect other parts of your life. Specifically, any conviction or guilty plea related to a drug offense will make you ineligible for federal student aid.
Not only could you lose any scholarships or grants that you have through federal programs, but you can also become ineligible for subsidized loan programs and work-study programs. Considering that the vast majority of college students rely on some form of financial aid to pay their tuition, getting cut off from that aid could prove devastating for your educational pursuits in the future.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges as a college student or if you are the parent of a current or aspiring college student accused of a drug offense, taking a proactive and assertive approach to addressing the issue is usually better than ignoring it or trying to sweep it under the rug by pleading guilty. Talking to an attorney about the exact circumstances of the charges can be a good way to start planning for the future.