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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Redmond High: Drug Free Since 2003!

posted by on June 6 at 9:52 AM

Today’s Seattle Times has a glowing profile of a baby-faced police officer who went undercover at Redmond High School. Matt Peringer dressed like a skate punk, hung out with the stoners, and bought pot, coke, and prescription drugs from students. Five kids were ultimately arrested—including a pair of twin brothers. As a result of their arrests, these five busted high school students may not be able to get student loans, go to college, etc.

But that’s a small price to pay if it means keeping Redmond High drug-free.

The Seattle Times doesn’t ask about it, but I have to assume Redmond High has been completely drug-free since those five hapless stoners were arrested in 2003. Otherwise you would have to argue that the police time and public resources poured into this investigation were wasted, and that Officer Peringer’s excellent adventure is just another example of the idiocy and futility of the War on Drugs. And unless Redmond High is drug-free, you would have to argue that the breathless, credulous piece in today’s Seattle Times is just another example of the mainstream media’s complicity in perpetuating the un-winnable, unjust War on Drugs.

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Isn't that how Johnny Depp's career started on Jump Street? Loved that show.

Posted by jackie treehorn | June 6, 2007 9:54 AM

Good points Dan, makes a wonder if The Stranger budget has been wasted on the enlightening "power paradigm" of the War on Pimps and Prostitutes.

Posted by Pon weeddd | June 6, 2007 10:02 AM

"Drug Free High School" is an oxymoron.

Posted by elswinger | June 6, 2007 10:05 AM

america will never wake up from the drug war nightmare.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 6, 2007 10:21 AM

Seeing that headline made me wonder if the next article was going to be about drinking alcohol causing intoxication or getting hit in the head with a baseball bat hurting.

Of course you can buy drugs at high school. That's where the customers are.

Posted by Gitai | June 6, 2007 10:27 AM

Keeping drugs away from kids is hardly a waste of resources. Nevertheless, denying kids who made a mistake access to higher education is bullshit and those laws need to be changed.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 6, 2007 10:33 AM

Keeping drugs away from kids is hardly a waste of resources.

But doing it by keeping the overall supply chain in the hands of criminals (and sending cops into high schools to pretend to be teenage drug users) is a waste of resources.

Posted by thehim | June 6, 2007 10:52 AM

I wouldn't be so sure about that, Maxsolomon. Perhaps you've been napping.... It's true that 20 years ago this country's only drug policy was lock 'em up and throw away the key. But these days voters and legislatures are making some significant dents--passing sentencing reforms, medical marijuana laws, and treatment-over-incarceration policies.

A shift in public thinking and most media coverage (notwithsatnding the DEA press releases passed off as news by the AP and Seattle Times) have put beltway drug warriors on the defensive for the first time and prompted most politicians to completely drop the drug rhetoric from their platforms. The drug war still marches on, but now the political landscape really is a drug war, where it used to be a drug massacre. At this rate, there's a light at the end of the tunnel: Programs based on accurate information and treatment programs rooted in science will prevail over the hoax War on Drugs nightmare that began with Nixon. To say we'll never wake up from this nightmare is delusional and defeatist. Lift a finger, and keep ya head up...

Posted by Dominic Holden | June 6, 2007 11:04 AM

FUCK that cop and his over-funded department. Someone send him an incredible edible chocolate anus, please.

Posted by Katelyn | June 6, 2007 11:11 AM

What were kids doing dealing coke, pot and prescription drugs in high school in the first place? Good lord, at least my classmates waited until they were off-campus to buy their drugs.

As a result of their arrests, these five busted high school students may not be able to get student loans, go to college, etc.

Good. They're clearly too fucking stupid to get a college degree anyway.

Posted by Gomez | June 6, 2007 11:16 AM

Drug free? Heck, some of their students do the Bong Show on public access TV ... as if!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 6, 2007 11:20 AM

oh, and if you want to do something about drugs, according to my son the main place is middle school.

High school is years too late.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 6, 2007 11:22 AM

The most asinine part of this story was that the undercover cop focused most on "skaters" at the school. He said he didn't hang out with the "out-going jock" types.

WTF? When will authority figures realize that the "out-going jock" types use the same, if not more drugs than the "skaters" or "rockers"?

Sure, the skaters in my HS were potheads, but the "out-going jock" types were the ones using meth, coke, and herion. They were also selling it, and making it look cool to the younger kids. The "out-going jock" types were the ones hazing freshman, throwing illegal keggers, and drunk driving.

Stereotyping doesnt work. Kids from all back grounds in HS might/do use drugs. It seems like a bigger waste of resources that the under cover cop didn't investigate all the drug users at the the HS. Morons.

Posted by Monique | June 6, 2007 11:22 AM


Is the war on drugs the same thing as keeping our *schools* drug and violence free?

I'm all for legalizing drugs. Victimless crimes aren't crimes. But we say schools should be more safe than other places. This is why strangers aren't supposed to just wander into our schools, and why anti-bullying policies are o.k. that would be ACLU material on the street.

Doing drugs at school is at cross purposes to getting an education. I hope that when my kids get to high school, they won't be inundated with drug purchasing opportunities.

Posted by Big Sven | June 6, 2007 11:25 AM

Doing drugs at school is at cross purposes to getting an education. I hope that when my kids get to high school, they won't be inundated with drug purchasing opportunities.

But they will be. And undercover operations like this one do absolutely nothing to change that. That's the point. Legalizing drugs for adults only and forcing people to produce ID when they buy them is by far the most effective way to keep drugs out of high schools. No solution is perfect, but what we have now is a disaster.

Posted by thehim | June 6, 2007 11:38 AM


FWIW, although it's been nearly 30 years since I graduated from high school, this was pretty much the SOP back then, so clearly things haven't changed much, which in and of itself should be a pretty good indicator of just how ineffectual this type of strategy has been over the long run.

Of course, this was years before mandatory random drug-testing of student athletes (or just about everyone else nowadays, from what I hear), and unannounced locker searches, but at the time pretty much everybody in our HS knew that if you wanted to get drugs you had two options: go to the skanky stoners out on the smoking dock, or go to the preppie jocks in the boys locker room. The smart kids patronized the jocks, because there was almost zero chance of getting busted, even if the transaction took place on school grounds, whereas the stoners on the dock were being constantly surveiled by the principal & vice principal.

Posted by COMTE | June 6, 2007 11:51 AM

I only wish someone had offered me pot during high school. It would have made everything ten times less awful in the short AND long run. Go drugs! Go drugs in schools! Parents, step the fuck up and create a supportive, loving, creative community for your kids so they don't have to get your attention in other ways (aka rubbing crack into their gums). Drugs aren't the problem.

Posted by Katelyn | June 6, 2007 11:54 AM

Narc pigs are the worst form of scum. Letting a pig into a school is just begging for abuse. The only reason a pig gets into narcotics if for the graft. The war on drugs is a failure, but then it was never meant to succeed. It was meant to line the pockets of those in charge and it does that nicely. Want to end drug abuse then get more rehabs going. Its a health issue not a pig issue. As long as there is a war on drugs, drugs will be worth enough to make dealing them worth it. Esp for the top rung dealers and narcs "chasing" them. Make drugs legal and the money factor is gone.

Posted by Just Smoke It | June 6, 2007 12:34 PM

"If you go back 20 years to '21 Jump Street,' drugs and guns always existed" on high school campuses, Shovlin said, referring to the hit 1980s television show about young cops who worked undercover at high schools. "I think operations like this protect our children."

Ha, using a fictional TV show as evidence, NICE WORK.

Posted by no one in particular | June 6, 2007 12:46 PM

And those drugs ain't nuthin' compared to what a kid can get when he/she goes to a private school.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | June 6, 2007 1:01 PM

Monique #13, I graduated in '92 and that was exactly my experince to.

Posted by Dougsf | June 6, 2007 2:13 PM

There's a reason he wasn't hanging out with the clean-cut "outgoing" jock kids to buy their drugs: they're more likely to have well-off, well-connected parents who'll make a stink about their little entrepreneur being apprehended. I'm sure the police brass see the skater kids and stoners as easier targets, despite the fact that the jock kids always have more drugs.

Posted by Geni | June 6, 2007 2:32 PM

If this goes the way it did when I was in high school, you had an adult with access to pretty much unlimited cash tempting minors into dealing more & harder drugs over an extended period of time (years).

The cop should be busted for contributing to the delinquency of minors. Any good lawyer would call the cop on this entrapment if the case ever went to a real court - however since it was high school the cases will probably have been handled in juvenile court.

Posted by RX | June 6, 2007 3:40 PM

Gomez, you sell drugs in high school because that's where your clients are. It's a convenience thing. Just like you want an auto mechanic close to the car dealerships and you want a brothel close to your legislature. When I sold drugs in school, it was from the instrument room before band because so many of my fellow band geeks liked drugs.

Posted by Gitai | June 6, 2007 3:51 PM

I was a student at Redmond that year. We had a lot of random drug searches there – we were locked into the classrooms while dogs and police officers roamed the hallway. I knew the kids that were busted. The twins – damn, they were nice guys. At least they could have busted the asshole jocks instead of the harmless stoners. It makes me mad to remember – I was mad not that they were dealing or using – everyone did – but that they got caught. What else is there to do in a place like Redmond? It’s full of rich kids that are bored out of their mind Here is the thing – the drug culture didn’t change. . The stoners kept getting stoned, the candy kids rolled, the AP kids kept taking caffeine and adderol to study, and the rich kids had their coke parties. What did change is that we no longer felt safe at school. We couldn’t trust any of the adults that were there supposedly to help us.
Fuck the drug “war”. Fuck undercover cops. Fuck Brian Hunter, he was a terrible principal. Fuck a town that spends money to narc out stupid ass highschool kids.
Fuck feeling like I am seventeen and helpless again.

Posted by Kitsu | June 6, 2007 4:04 PM

I really like Kitsu's post, and I don't think cops should turn high schools into military occupations.

But kids should not do hard drugs. For the same reasons that they don't get to vote or be in the army or be held liable for contracts or screw old people. There is a reason that they are called KIDS and not ADULTS. They are not yet ready to be totally independent and should be protected from the worst of their decisions. That's what parenting is all about.

Meth and coke and heroin will *fuck* you up. I hope my kids (currently 6 and 9) never touch any of these. LSD and X are not as nasty, but I would be totally happy if my kids never experimented with either of these drugs. Weed and alcohol can be enjoyed safely in moderation (IMHO), but what teenager is into moderation? I would prefer if my kids waited until college for these.

As I quoted in another thread, according to H&HS only 17% of 16 and 17 year olds had done "illicit" (drugs minus alcohol) in the previous month. And only 43% had ever done illicit drugs.

Policies that help reduce teen drug use, if implemented in a fair and respectful way, are a good idea. The same way that policies that reduce teen pregnancy or teen drunk driving are a good idea (if fair and respectful.)

Posted by Big Sven | June 6, 2007 6:18 PM

You won't get any argument from me on that. Kids should not be doing hard drugs, period. But what's the most effective way to prevent it?

It's counterintuitive for many people, but allowing adults to legally obtain even harder drugs is the smartest way. To understand this, think about how useless it would be for an undercover cop to bust these kids for selling a bottle of whiskey. As soon as they started asking around, the kids would probably just shoot back "ask an adult". And survey after survey has shown that illegal drugs are much easier for teens to obtain than alcohol.

Of course, teens still get their hands on alcohol, but the obstacles that exist due to the regulations we have make it that much more difficult. With drugs like heroin or cocaine, it would be very easy to establish a regulatory framework that provides the demand of addicts without allowing so much of it to end up in our schools. In fact, the Swiss have done this quite well over the past decade.

Posted by thehim | June 6, 2007 7:10 PM


I'm not certain which studies show that illegal drugs are easier to obtain, but alcohol is definitely used much more. More than 50 percent of minors drink alcohol in any given month while, as #26 points out, only 17 percent used drugs.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 6, 2007 8:08 PM

Dammit. When I said minors, I meant teenagers.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 6, 2007 8:09 PM

thehim, I'm with ya. Additionally, if drugs were legal, then the drug rings wouldn't be able to survive off the meager savings of cheerleaders and quarterbacks, without the double-income no-kid lawyers and white collar types...

Posted by Big Sven | June 6, 2007 9:49 PM

I really don't want to admit this but I believe if the government would legalize illicit drugs and regulate their dispense through reasonable standards, the drug problem would cease to be as widespread as it is now. Murder rates would drop dramatically. So would other crime rates. The government would collect many more tax dollars, and be able to create so many other benefits for society. We still would need to educate our kids to stay sober, but I think we can do that if we put some effort to that effect.

Posted by lawrence clark | June 6, 2007 10:34 PM

Am I the only one who noticed that the cop is hot?

Posted by GW2 | June 9, 2007 12:39 AM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:44 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:44 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:44 PM

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