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UD’s pal Dave…

… sends her the latest Ivy League drug bust news.

A 26-year-old Cornell senior, a woman, an English major, a witty writer in the campus newspaper, and someone who, if my Googling’s right, used to be a seriously competitive doubles skater, was arrested in a sketchy part of town with enormous amounts of uncut heroin. She’d apparently been selling out of her off-campus apartment for some time. Her mottled, miserable, and frightened mug shot suggests she’s been using for some time too.

Let me free associate in response to this story.

All streets in time are visited, writes Philip Larkin in Ambulances; and so it is with universities. All in time are visited by narcotics units, because everyone knows lots of narcotics are traded and used on and off American campuses. Tips are received, and here come the authorities. Too many students die in drug overdoses, and the school, or someone, decides to call in the police. UD has covered zillions of these, and related, stories.

Most tend to go unreported unless they feature Ivy League, or near-Ivy League schools, or if they involve, as San Diego State did a couple of years ago, the arrest of so many student dealers that extensive, weaponized, often fraternity-based, conspiracies were clearly in play.

The Cornell story will get more than its share of play because it’s part of a trend, because it happened at an Ivy League school, because it involves desperate icky heroin rather than giggly collegiate marijuana, and because it involves a woman.

Most of my free associating, to be frank, has to do with this woman. In her Facebook photos, she plays up her tough girl thing — cig hangs from her mouth, she flips the bird, she features a fuck-all quotation from Hunter Thompson… I dunno. A woman like this becomes addicted to heroin and, feeling it’s impossible to stop being addicted, throws herself down one of the gorges and becomes part of the Cornell suicide story…

I wonder too about her physicality, her having been a serious athlete. I’ve read a lot of stories about college athletes and drug addiction… My friend Courtney sent me this long essay by a climber who has years of serious drug addiction behind him.

The essay ends like this:

If you’re an outdoor athlete and you’re good at it, you’re probably like I once was: a selfish, self-involved son of a bitch. It’s always more, more, more and me, me, me, and I was no different. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to do the hardest sport routes, to be the boldest on high, killer walls.

Why? Why not? I was addicted to climbing, and then to starvation, and when that wasn’t enough, I became addicted to drugs.

Maybe you see some of my method in your own madness. And perhaps your obsessions are “healthy”: wheatgrass, long runs, body sculpting, rock climbing. That’s great. But I tell you now, absent your passions you will feel the sharp scrape of withdrawal — just like any fixless junkie bug-eyed in a January alley. Reality can be reduced, at its sparest, to chemical reactions, our body craving the release of GABA, oxytocins, endorphins, serotonin, dopamine. It doesn’t care about their provenance. It just doesn’t. Cut off the source—any source—and you will pay.

Margaret Soltan, December 21, 2010 6:10PM
Posted in: the university

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8 Responses to “UD’s pal Dave…”

  1. Jeff Says:

    How does an undergrad come up with $150,000 for H? Its one thing to scrape together a couple hundred bucks for some reefer but quite another to pay somebody else $150k in cash.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Jeff: My guess would be that she’s part of a drug syndicate. The money is coming from various sources.

  3. nobody Says:

    Bingo. She’ll go to jail, but as long as she does not talk, the syndicate will pay for the lawyer.

  4. Van L. Hayhow Says:

    I tend to doubt anyone except her family will pay for a lawyer. As a public defender, I represent lots of drug cases and, being in court just about every day (on vacation today)I can tell you very, very few dealers have their source pay for their lawyer.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Again, if I’m Googling correctly, her father is a lawyer. I think this may help her – legally, financially – in her current troubles.

  6. Van L. Hayhow Says:

    Yes, it will. Her father will be able to screen potential defense attorneys, will be able to look at potential treatment programs, etc. I expect the police estimate of the value of the drugs is off and the amount is much, much smaller. If it is, she may be eligible for a non-jail sentence. We have excellent social workers on staff and do this kind of thing for indigents frequently.

  7. University Diaries » So how did Klete Keller, a multiple-medaled Olympic swimmer, an intelligent, thoughtful, and humble man who knows what it is to suffer a horrible reversal and survive it… How did Klete Keller end up… Says:

    […] So my old friend Courtney, a really impressive all-around athlete, once sent me an article about the connection between athleticism and self-destructive behaviors. Here’s an excerpt from it: […]

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