The administration and a large majority of students believe that Grinnell has a drug problem. The College’s alcohol policy is almost nonexistent. While students are not permitted to have open containers on or around campus grounds, this is not entirely enforced. Local police rarely get involved in school functions and will even make exceptions for events. Most theft and destruction is done by people under the influence. While it’s fairly safe to leave your bike unlocked on a Monday, if left on a Friday, it’s likely to be stolen and crashed by a drunken reveler. Drunks also leave messes in hall lounges, and it’s not uncommon to see puke in hallways. Every few months, an article will show up in the Scarlet & Black about a student taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. This is when the College intervenes and demands professional help. However, the self-governance ethos that permeates the campus generally means that when people get out of control, their peers have the responsibility and capacity to bring them in/put them to bed.
Marijuana is also commonly used by Grinnell students but seems to have far less destructive effects. It seems that most have experimented with it at some point. The College generally ignores it, despite the pungent odor that wafts from one hallway to the next, but occasionally the local police do get involved. While warrants are almost never obtained merely for possession, once every one or two years, students are taken in on charges of possession with intent to sell. This can carry some heavy penalties. Most have been able to get off relatively light.