Alcohol, drugs don’t mix with travel

Every year college students travel to Spring Break destinations around the globe to get away from hectic school schedules. Sometimes, ‘getting away’ involves drugs and alcohol, which can be dangerous, especially for people visiting other countries.

Each year over 2,500 American citizens are arrested abroad, on charges mostly relating to drugs, alcohol and the behaviors that are related to them. According to a U.S. Department of State press release, most young people are arrested abroad because they are unaware of the laws in the country they are visiting.

The fact that they are American citizen doesn’t mean that they are immune from facing punishment for crimes in other countries. Even a small amount of an illegal substance can result in several years of jail time in a foreign prison without the possibility of parole.

Many Americans are under the impression that once they are arrested overseas the U.S. government will be able to get them out of trouble, but this is a misconception.

“The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for the protection and welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. Although U.S. consular officers can visit American citizens being held in foreign jails, they cannot get them released,” said Secretary of State Colin Powell in a letter to the editors of the nation’s college newspapers.

Aside from actually possessing illegal substances in a foreign country, young people are often arrested due to their conduct, weather they were under the influence or not, people should be aware of the customs of the people in the country they are visiting.

Disorderly conduct is not something that some foreign governments take lightly. There have been times when American citizens have been severely punished for everything from chewing gum in public to destruction of property.

While in a foreign country students should be aware that they will be held accountable under the laws of the country they are visiting. They may no longer have the same rights they have in the U.S.

Several countries that have enacted tougher drug laws include spring break hot spots such as the Bahamas, Mexico, and Jamaica. These countries all impose mandatory jail sentences for possession of even small amounts of marijuana and cocaine.