Pubdate: Wed, 17 Nov 2004
Source: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)
Copyright: 2004 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Author: Glenn Smith


City Councilman Wendell Gilliard is calling for a special meeting to discuss
what he describes as a "major drug problem" festering at the College of

City leaders and police need to sit down with college officials soon and
find ways to stem campus drug use, which helps fuel the demand for illegal
narcotics in Charleston, Gilliard said.

Gilliard's call for action follows the arrest of two college students who
police say were plotting to dispense a new form of a rare and dangerous drug
around the campus.

Police seized 4 ounces of a white powder containing diphenoxylate, a drug
commonly used to stop diarrhea, mixed with the tranquilizer diazepam.

The same mixture was found in the body of David Phillip Dempsey, a
19-year-old student who was found dead from a drug overdose in a Smith
Street apartment May 4, authorities said. Police say they are still
investigating a possible connection.

Gilliard said the incidents clearly illustrate a problem that needs to be
addressed. He said he approached college officials nearly two years ago
about meeting on campus drug use, but they weren't interested.

"Their attitude was that it was taboo to even think about this," he said.
"If you walk and talk to residents who witness drug activities, they will
tell you most of the people they see are young college students from the
College of Charleston."

Gilliard said people draw that connection from college-related clothing worn
by drug users and college stickers and insignia on their vehicles.

Though campus police statistics show a decline in drug arrests between 2001
and 2003, college spokesman Mike Robertson said school officials are willing
to meet with Gilliard about his concerns.

"If Mr. Gilliard would like to meet with College of Charleston officials to
talk about ideas and plans to combat drug use in the community, we, of
course, would be willing to do so and look forward to that opportunity," he

Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said police could not comment
until they learned more about Gilliard's plans.
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