A Note on 4-20 Impacts

April 20, 2016

For many reasons, "4-20" is challenging. These challenges include the ever-increasing associated costs and significant concerns for health and safety. Financially, the campus is expecting to spend approximately $100,000 this year to have officers and additional support staff on campus to ensure the health and safety of our campus community. 
Every year, several students are hospitalized for excessive use of drugs and alcohol during “4-20.” Although many associate this event with just marijuana, our experience has been that there are high levels of poly-drug use in the meadow.  This includes alcohol, prescription drugs, Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, mushrooms, and other drugs. Moreover, those smoking and/or  ingesting highly concentrated forms of marijuana with high THC levels have experienced hallucinations, disorientation, uncontrollable vomiting, and severe dehydration. Some attendees in prior years have become disoriented and combative – becoming a harm to themselves and others. Therefore we will have a significant presence of police officers throughout the campus to keep those present and the community safe. Our staff have also had to address people who bring small children into the meadow, as well as middle and high school students who are drawn to the event. 
Since the beginning of the fall quarter, the UC Santa Cruz Police Department, Student Health Center, CAPS, and SHOP have come across an increasing number of individuals experiencing a marijuana-induced psychosis, known as “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome,”  after using highly concentrated marijuana. In fact, one of the 2015 overdose deaths reported by the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s Office included a student who died from this syndrome.  
We encourage you to engage in dialogue with your peers and talk about the impacts “4-20” has on others.
For students in long-term recovery from alcohol and/or other drugs; for students who have family members who struggle with alcohol and/or other drugs; and for students new to recovery, "4-20" can be a very hard day. SHOP’s Alcohol & Other Drug Educator Jorge Bru will be available as well as additional staff to offer support at The Cove, from 2–6 p.m., located on the lower piazzetta at Kresge College, Suite 153. To learn more about The Cove and our student recovery group Slugs for Health & Growth, contact Jorge Bru at jbru@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1417.  Additionally SHOP staff will be available if students need support. CARE will also open its office as a safe and sober place for students to gather and support each other