A couple of weeks ago, the Nexus published a column I wrote that offered the advice of “doing drugs instead of drinking.” (“Do Drugs Instead of Drinking,” Daily Nexus, May 12.) It was supposed to be a satirical column in response to the local government’s effort to curtail drinking by imposing specific laws for Isla Vista – like the noise ordinance and recent beach ban. I thought it would be evident to anyone with the ability to read that this was my goal when I suggested you go do a bunch of coke to keep the party going once the cops break it up at midnight. I don’t even do coke.
I’ve gotten mostly good feedback for my writing but there are others who see it as irresponsible and problematic. Two women from the UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program have contacted me about having a meeting with them to discuss my columns and to presumably see if they can impart any pearls of wisdom to me in hopes that I write about something else. I actually tried hard to get the meeting organized, but on their side of things it is apparently a challenge. It’s been a few weeks since I gave them (for the third time) some times I have available for a meeting and I’ve gotten no response. I would’ve thought all those anti-drug people over there would be a little more on top of things since they obviously aren’t partying very often, but apparently weed isn’t the only thing that can make you lazy.
The members of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol also apparently read the Nexus on a daily basis. This isn’t too surprising, but I was surprised when my editor called me to tell me that Lt. Olmstead, the head honcho over at the IVFP, called her up and wanted to speak with me about the column. This intrigued me because I’ve talked a lot of shit about him and the operation that he runs from the brand new $4-million dollar jail, and I wouldn’t want him to think I was a coward.
Olmstead’s concern worried me, though, because the government and the police have no right to interfere with the press. Turns out, he believes it is job to do just that and that they regularly call up the Nexus if they don’t like something that is published. Anyone has the right to complain to the paper but they should do it as private citizens on their own time. Much of what we talked about was the community’s negative perception of the IVFP, which I argued was because most of us only deal with them when we are getting in trouble for some bullshit reason. Or when they are failing to find your stolen bike.
Lt. Olmstead instead blames the Nexus for this because the Police Blotter usually only includes cases of people getting arrested for drugs or alcohol. He said this right before proudly admitting that they do focus most of their energy on enforcing alcohol laws. This obviously confused me. In the past, he said, Isla Vista was much crazier and parties would rage until far after midnight until they instituted more restrictive laws. His chief concern now, though, is that Isla Vista is in the middle of its worst drug problem ever, as we’ve apparently had four drug overdoses in the past year. This would seem to prove my point that all these restrictions on alcohol consumption might have some negative consequences, but Olmstead didn’t seem to understand my logic.
I will, however, put out a message they should be able to agree with. Drugs can obviously be very destructive. Just because the government has been lying to you about marijuana doesn’t mean it’s lying to you about heroin or crack. Doing a hard drug like that, with high potential for addiction, is a really bad choice and could end up killing you. Light and funny articles in a college newspaper are not going to cause people to overdose on drugs, and I really hope the police around here don’t continue to think they can add “newspaper editor” to their job descriptions (right below babysitter).