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Policy No: 2106
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Review Date: 02/20/2023
Next Required Review: 02/20/2028
Policy No: 2106
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Review Date: 02/20/2023
Next Required Review: 02/20/2028

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

1. Purpose

The University of South Alabama recognizes that substance abuse is a major issue affecting all aspects of our society. The University views the abuse of alcohol and other drugs as harmful to the life, safety, and orderly progress of the academic community. Responsible conduct and accountability is expected from each individual on campus. The University will address this ongoing concern through an institution-wide commitment to appropriate education, prevention, and counseling services. The University recognizes, through this policy and the programs developed to prevent illicit use of drugs and abuse of alcohol, its goals and commitments to a drug-free academic and employment environment, in accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, and The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

2. Applicability

This policy applies to all Faculty and staff employed by the University of South Alabama, as well as all students who attend University of South Alabama.

3. Definitions


4. Policy Guidelines

4.1  Campus Prohibitions  

As a part of the University’s Institution-Wide Substance Abuse Education/Prevention Program, and also in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the following are prohibited:

    • Use, possession, manufacture, distribution, dispensation or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on University premises or while on University business, or in University vehicles either during or after working hours;
    • Unauthorized use or possession or any manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or sale of controlled substances, as defined by state law, on University premises, or while engaged in University business, or in University vehicles, either during or after working hours;
    • Unauthorized use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or possession or sale of alcohol on University premises or while on University business as set forth in the policy, or in University vehicles, either during or after working hours;
    • Storing on University premises any illegal drug, drug paraphernalia, any controlled substances, of which use is unauthorized, or any alcohol on University premises unless specifically authorized in accordance with University policy;
    • Use of alcohol off University premises that adversely affects the employee’s work performance, his own or others’ safety;
    • Possession, use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or sale of illegal drugs off University premises that adversely affects a University employee’s work performance, his own or others’ safety;
    • Any act leading to conviction under any criminal drug statute;
    • Failure of a University employee to notify the University of any arrest or conviction under any criminal drug statute within five days of the arrest or conviction, in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

4.2  A Summary of Federal and State Laws

The University pledges to support and enforce all laws and ordinances pertaining to the use, possession, sale, and distribution of alcohol and other drugs. Below is a summary of Alabama laws relating to illegal possession, etc., of alcohol and illegal drugs. Relevant Federal laws are included as an Appendix to this document.

4.3  State Law - Drinking Age

The legal age in Alabama for consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is defined as twenty-one (21) years (Ala. Code Section 28-31-5).

Minors may not lawfully attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages [Ala. Code Section 28-3A-25 (18)]. Those found in violation are subject to a fine of not less than $50.00 to $500.00 and at the discretion of the judge, up to three months at hard labor or imprisonment.

Those who furnish alcoholic beverages to a minor are subject to a civil suit by the minor’s parents or guardian (Ala. Code Section 6- 5-70).

4.4  Sale or Gift to an Intoxicated Person

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board regulations prohibit the sale or gift of alcohol to persons who “appear, considering the totality of the circumstances, to be intoxicated.” (ABC Regulation 20-X-6-.02)

4.5  Dram Shop Liability

A civil action for damages may be initiated by persons injured by intoxicated individuals against the one who sold, gave, or otherwise caused the intoxication of the individual in violation of the law (Ala. Code Section 6-5-71).

4.6  Related Laws

State law defines controlled substances or drugs in Ala. Code Section 20-2-1, et seq. Drugs which are illegal in the state of Alabama are included therein and include marijuana, morphine, heroin, cocaine, codeine, peyote, mescaline, and other similar substances.

The Drug Crimes Amendment Act of 1987 establishes that it is a crime to unlawfully distribute controlled substances if, except as otherwise authorized, the person sells, furnishes, gives away, delivers, or distributes a controlled substance enumerated in Schedules I- V of the Act. Such unlawful distribution is defined as a Class B felony. Class B felonies provide sentences for a definite term of imprisonment, which imprisonment includes hard labor for not more than twenty years or less than two years. In addition, there may be certain fines imposed, related to felonies. (Ala. Code Section 13A-5-11).

Persons are deemed to commit a crime of unlawful possession of a controlled substance if, except as otherwise authorized, the person possesses a controlled substance enumerated in Schedules I-V, or the person obtains by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge or by the alteration of a prescription or written order, or by the concealment of a material fact or by the use of a false name or giving a false address, a controlled substance enumerated in Schedules I-V or a precursor chemical enumerated in Ala. Code Section 20-2-181. Such unlawful possession is deemed to be a Class C felony, which may carry with it a penalty of not more than ten years, or less than one year and one day, plus potential fines. (Ala. Code Section 13A-5-11, 13A-5-6, 13A-12-212).

Additionally, a person commits the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree if, except as otherwise authorized, the person possesses marijuana for other than personal use or possesses marijuana for his/her personal use only after having previously been convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree or unlawful possession of marijuana for his personal use only. That unlawful possession is deemed to be a Class C felony. (Ala. Code Section 13A-12-213).

A person commits the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree if, except as otherwise authorized, the person possesses marijuana for his/her personal use only. Unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors may require imprisonment in the County jail or hard labor for the County of not more than one year. (Ala. Code Section 13A-12-21).

In addition, if an offender is over the age of 18, and the offense consists of selling, furnishing or giving Schedule I-V controlled substances to a person under the age of 18, the offender is guilty of a Class A felony. The imposition or execution of THE SENTENCE SHALL NOT BE SUSPENDED, AND PROBATION SHALL NOT BE GRANTED. (Ala. Code Section 13A-12-215)

There are certain specific offenses for drug trafficking set forth in Ala. Code Section 13A-12-231, et seq. Also there is a specific penalty for individuals who sell on or near school campuses, as found in Ala. Code Section 13A-12-250, as follows:

“In addition to any penalties heretofore or hereafter provided by law for any person convicted of an unlawful sale of a controlled substance, there is hereby imposed a penalty of five years incarceration in the state corrections facility, with no provision for probation if the situs of such unlawful sale was on the campus or within a three mile radius of the campus of any public or private school, college, university, or other educational institution in the state.”

There are also offenses for possession, use, delivery and sale of drug paraphernalia set forth in Ala. Code Section 13A-12-260, as well as other significant offenses relating to illicit use, sale, distribution, manufacture, possession, or consumption of dangerous drugs, narcotics, or other controlled substances. When made aware of activities that violate any of these or other drug laws the University of South Alabama will work with appropriate authorities in order to assure that the University is a drug-free environment for its students, faculty, and staff.

4.7  Campus Alcohol Policy Guidelines

4.7.1  The sale, possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the campuses of the University of South Alabama is prohibited.

4.7.2  Public intoxication on the campuses of the University of South Alabama is prohibited.

4.7.3  The University may allow alcohol to be served at certain functions of student organizations and to other recognized organizations hosting functions in designated areas on campus. All organizations will be expected to follow all relevant University policies and procedures. All laws, ordinances, and University regulations must be carefully observed relating to the utilization of the privilege of alcohol consumption.

4.7.4  The responsibility for compliance with and adherence to University regulations and applicable state laws rests with the sponsoring organization and its advisors. The University of South Alabama, its trustees, officers and employees, do not assume any responsibility or liability for actions of the sponsoring organization or its advisors or members or other participants, with regard to alcohol usage.

4.7.5  All requests for permission to serve alcohol at a function on campus must be submitted to the Office of Campus Involvement at least five working days prior to the date of the event.

4.7.6  Organizations granted the permission to serve alcohol at an event on campus must maintain appropriate insurance policies, as required by the University. Information about insurance requirements may be obtained from the Office of Campus Involvement.

4.7.7 Security precautions, as specified by the Office of Campus Involvement, must be carefully observed.

4.7.8  No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through a student organization’s treasury nor may the purchase of same for members or guests be undertaken or coordinated by any member in the name of or on behalf of the student organization.

      • Any monies used to pay for alcoholic beverages must be supplied by personal/private sources;
      • No alcohol may be purchased with funds of an organization which are in accounts of the University of South Alabama;
      • No organization may co-sponsor or co-finance a function where alcohol is purchased by any of the host organizations.

4.7.9  Minors who are not affiliated with the University may not attend any function at which alcoholic beverages are present. An official of the organization sponsoring the event must ask the minor who attempts to attend the function to leave. If the minor refuses to leave, Campus and/or local police must be advised.

4.7.10  Driver’s licenses are to be checked by security personnel to verify that persons are of legal drinking age before those persons may receive and consume alcoholic beverages.

4.7.11  No student organization may co-sponsor an event with an alcohol manufacturer and/or distributor, charitable organization, or tavern (tavern defined as an establishment generating more than half of annual gross sales from alcohol) where alcohol is given away, sold or otherwise provided to those present.

4.7.12  All rush activities must be dry. No alcohol shall be present at any pledge/associate member/novice program or activity of the organization.

4.7.13  Open parties, meaning those with unrestricted access by nonmembers of the organization when alcohol is present, shall be prohibited. Guests must be invited by specific invitation, with the numbers of guests to be regulated by the Office of Campus Involvement.

4.7.14  Alcoholic beverages should not be freely available (unrestricted access) and a designated server should be appointed to insure that no alcoholic beverages are served to persons under the legal drinking age or to persons who appear to be intoxicated.

4.7.15  A copy of the Alabama Dram Shop Liability Statement should be prominently posted where alcohol is being served. All servers must sign a liability statement declaring their familiarity with Alabama law on Dram Shop Liability, other relevant laws, and the University Alcohol Policy.

4.7.16  Non-alcoholic beverages should also be available in adequate quantities and featured as prominently as the alcoholic beverages. A reasonable portion of the budget for the event should be designated for the purchase of food items. Non-alcoholic beverages and food should continue to be available throughout the event.

4.7.17  The event should have a definite beginning and ending time. The serving of alcoholic beverages should be stopped at least thirty minutes prior to the ending time of the event.

4.7.18  Advertising for the event may not include any reference to alcohol including a reference to a function being BYOB (Bring your own bottle of alcohol).

4.7.19  Drinking “games” or any activity which encourages alcohol overindulgence or abuse are prohibited.

4.7.20  Keg beer or any bulk containers will not be allowed under any circumstances.

4.7.21  Any event that is closed down due to any violation of city, county, state or Federal laws, rules regulating crowd noise level, or University regulations, will subject the sponsoring organization to a review of its status as a registered University organization.

4.7.22  Jurisdiction over non-compliance of these standards will depend upon the nature of the violation, the location of the event, and whether students of the University are involved in non-compliance. In every case it is the sole responsibility of the organization to uphold standards set forth in this policy. Organizations found not in compliance by the Dean of Students, or his/her designated representative, will be subject to loss of status as a recognized student organization by the University or other measures as appropriate.

5. Procedures

5.1  Counseling and Treatment Services

5.1.1  Employees are eligible for free substance abuse assessment and counseling services from the University Employee Assistance Program Counselor, 461-1346. Students are eligible for free substance abuse assessment and counseling services from the Counseling and Testing Services – Substance Abuse Program, 460-7980. Services are provided confidentially to the extent allowed by relevant laws and ethical guidelines. Employees and students who are concerned about their alcohol and other drug use are encouraged to self-refer.

5.1.2  When an employee or student requires treatment beyond what can be provided by the EAP Counselor or Substance Abuse Program staff, he/she will be referred to an outside provider. The selection of that treatment provider will be based on a number of considerations including type of treatment needed (e.g., inpatient vs. outpatient), insurance coverage, accessibility of program, and employee/student openness to available options.

5.2  Substance Abuse Education and Training

5.2.1  Counseling and Testing Services takes a primary role in planning and conducting alcohol and other drug prevention activities for students. These include but are not limited to substance abuse educational programs, distribution of educational materials, conducting screenings for alcohol problems, development and implementation of social norm marketing campaigns, and maintaining on-line resources such as alcohol assessment and personalized feedback programs.

5.2.2  Counseling and Testing Services provides training for faculty, staff, and student leaders on alcohol and other drug issues, particularly how to recognize and intervene with someone who is suspected of having a substance abuse problem. The Employee Assistance Counselor provides training for hospital supervisory personnel on recognizing and intervening with impaired health professionals.

5.2.3  Counseling and Testing Services staff and the Employee Assistance Program Counselor are available to consult with students and employees about substance abuse related issues.

6. Enforcement

6.1  Students found in violation of any of these policies will be subject to the following:

    • The student will be required to appear before the Student Conduct Administrator of the University who will assess the student’s behavioral report.
    • If alcohol and/or drug use is determined to be a factor in the behavioral report, the student may be referred to the Substance Abuse Program of Counseling and Testing Services located in Alpha Hall East, Room 326.
    • If it is determined that this Program is inadequate to meet the student’s needs, he/she may be referred to other agencies. The University assumes no liability for any costs which may be incurred in such a referral.
    • Depending upon the nature of the violation various sanctions may be imposed on the student including but not limited to the following: written reprimand, conduct probation, residence hall room transfer, removal from university housing, fine, completion of substance abuse education, community service, suspension and/or expulsion from the University.

6.2  Staff employees found in violation of these polices will be subject to the following:

    • The Department Head and appropriate Human Resource Officer will access the behavioral report and evaluate for purposes of assistance to the employee. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed up to and including termination.
    • If alcohol and or drug use are determined to be a factor in the behavioral report, the employee will be referred to the Employee Assistance Program. The employee is required to call EAP (461-1346) to make an appointment with the Employee Assistance counselor within two working days of the referral. The employee will receive a professional assessment to determine whether chemical dependency or abuse exists. If appropriate, the employee will be scheduled for counseling sessions with the Employee Assistance Counselor.
    • If it is determined that counseling sessions with the Employee Assistance Counselor would be inappropriate for the employee, he/she will be referred elsewhere for further evaluation.
    • The appropriate Human Resource Officer, as well as the supervisor of an employee undergoing treatment or counseling for chemical dependency shall be notified by the Employee Assistance Program Counselor as to:
      • Employee attendance at counseling/treatment sessions;
      • Date/time when employee may return to work.
    • Other state and federal requirements will apply with respect to health care professionals. To the extent that other legal requirements are more extensive than the policy enclosed herein and/or are more stringent, those will apply.

6.3  Members of the faculty who may be in violation of the policies will be subject to all requirements of the Faculty Handbook as well as the following:

    • The Department Head will confer with the Dean and the Vice President for the respective area to assess behavioral reports and evaluate for the necessity of assistance to the faculty member. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed, up to and including termination.
    • If alcohol or drug use is determined to be a factor in the behavioral report, the Department Head and appropriate representative, either from the Dean’s office or the Vice President’s office, will meet with the employee concerning issues related to professional performance.
    • In the event that the faculty member wishes to be referred to the Employee Assistance Counselor for assessment or counseling, or to treatment, those options will be available to the faculty member.

7. Related Documents

Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Other Drug Use:

7.1 Alcohol - Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses can cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of habitual alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term health risks of heavy drinking include hypertension, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, heart problems, brain and nerve damage, and sexual dysfunction.

Pregnant women who drink alcohol may give birth to infants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates the children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.

7.2 Marijuana - Marijuana use increases the heart rate, impairs coordination, and reduces short-term memory. Use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and low birth weights. Women may have irregular menstrual cycles and both men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility.

7.3 Cocaine - Cocaine use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose if snorted and cause hepatitis or other infections if injected. Cocaine abuse may be associated with severe depression, anxiety, and/or psychotic episodes. Overdose deaths can occur when the drug is injected, smoked or snorted. Deaths are a result of multiple seizures followed by respiratory cardiac arrest.

7.4 Amphetamines - Use of amphetamines may increase heart and breathing rates and blood pressure, cause blurred vision, dizziness, loss of coordination, and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates sudden increases in blood pressure that cause death from stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.

7.5 Hallucinogens - Hallucinogen use (LSD, mescaline, mushrooms) may cause organic brain damage, such as impaired memory and attention span, mental confusion, and difficulty with abstract thinking.

7.6 Barbiturates - Use of barbiturates in large doses (Amytal, Nebutal, Seconal) may cause slurred speech, staggering gait, poor judgment, and slow, uncertain reflexes. These effects make it dangerous to drive a car or operate machinery. Unconsciousness and death may also occur from large doses.