Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Alcohol, Drugs, & Prohibited Substances

I.    Introduction

Thomas Jefferson University (the “University”) expects all students to adhere to all federal, state or local laws regarding the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol, drugs, and illegal substances.

II.   Alcohol Policy

 As an institution of higher education, the University wishes to promote the educational purposes of the University in all activities and to establish in our students a professional level of behavior and personal deportment that is consistent with those educational objectives.  In light of problems of alcohol abuse in our society, especially among college students, the University seeks to encourage a social life that does not emphasize the role of alcoholic beverages in either private or group activities and yet allows students of legal age some opportunity to develop good habits for responsible drinking.

The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the campus of the University and at University-related events is regulated by the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is therefore prohibited to those under the age of 21.   When evidence exists that an underage student has consumed, possessed, distributed and/or otherwise been in the presence of alcohol, that student will be referred to the Community Standards.

Any University official who has a reasonable suspicion that the alcohol policy is being violated may contact designated staff at the University, including a staff member of Housing and/or Residence Life,  Safety and Security, or other Student Affairs offices as appropriate, to determine an appropriate course of action.  University officials are authorized to intervene in any situation that warrants action including, but not limited to, removal of attendees; closing of the event; dumping or confiscation of alcohol; and notification of University personnel.

(1)   Alcohol Policy Violations

The following actions are considered violation of the University’s Alcohol, Drug and Other Prohibited Substances Policy:

(a)  Consumption, distribution, manufacture, transportation, or possession of alcoholic beverages by any person less than 21 years of age, either on or off-campus;

(b) Presence of alcoholic beverages in any campus residential space where any of the occupants are less than 21 years of age;

(c)  Providing alcoholic beverages to any person less than 21 years of age;

(d) Being less than 21 years of age and in the presence of alcohol;

(e)  Public Intoxication as indicated by appearance or behavior, such as slurred speech, unstable walk, unconsciousness, destruction of property, use of abusive language, smell of alcohol on breath or on person, vomiting or disturbance to others;

(f)  Distribution, sale, or trade of alcoholic beverages on the campus property or to members of the University community;

(g) Possession of kegs or similar bulk containers, or any apparatus associated with drinking games;

(h)   Possession by any person less than 21 years of age of paraphernalia associated with consumption of alcoholic beverages including, but not limited to, beer bongs and empty alcoholic beverage bottles;

(i)   Consumption, distribution, or possession of alcoholic beverages in public areas of the campus or University facilities not designated as a permitted area or in said areas without University approval; and

(j) Use of alcohol to the extent that the safety to self or others on the campus is jeopardized.

(2)   Host Responsibilities – University Housing

The residents in whose room/apartment/townhouse alcohol is being consumed are responsible for the behavior of their guests and will be held accountable for any policy violations. It is the responsibility of the residents to verify the age of any person consuming an alcoholic beverage in their room/apartment/townhouse and ensuring that minors do not consume and are not allowed in the presence of alcohol; guests over 21 years old do not leave the room/apartment/townhouse with open containers of alcohol; and that guests do not become intoxicated and/or disorderly.  Students found responsible for violating hosting standards will be subject to sanctions above and beyond those outlined below.

(3) In-the-Presence-of Alcohol Violations

Students under the age of 21 are never permitted to be in the presence of alcohol unless at properly supervised, University-sponsored events.  An underage student found by University staff to be in the presence of alcohol will be subject to a hearing in which a community standards officer will determine if the student committed any of the violations described above.  Students found to be in the presence of alcohol, but not drinking, will be considered responsible for condoning the violation of community standards and may be sanctioned with an educational sanction, probation and/or a written warning, among other repercussions.   Underage students finding themselves in the presence of alcohol should immediately vacate the situation and notify a staff member of the Housing and/or Residence Life or Safety and Security.

(4)   Sanctions for Alcohol Violations

While the University Community Standards does impose punitive sanctions for violations of the drug and alcohol policies, it also requires students to complete developmental sanctions designed to educate students and foster personal growth. These sanctions are applicable to both residential and commuter students. Sanctions are listed in the Community Standards, found here.

Any student found to be in violation of the alcohol policy during a probationary period will have subsequent sanctions increased significantly.  Any student who is of legal drinking age and who is documented for providing underage students with alcohol is subject to doubling of the fine for the violation level. A Community Standards body may apply the sanctions at their discretion depending upon the quantity and type of alcohol involved in a case or by the number of people impacted by the violation, among other factors.  All fines collected are dedicated to alcohol-education efforts, non-alcoholic events, and community-building programs on campus.

(5) Parental Notification

In addition, the University reserves the right to notify parents, if deemed necessary.   In those circumstances, the student will in most cases be notified that parent notification is taking place.

(6) Study Abroad Policy on Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Students studying abroad, for either a semester or a short course, are responsible for following this policy as well as the policies related to Drug and Alcohol Use available in Office of International and Domestic Study Away Programs in East Falls.

III.    Drug Policy

The possession, distribution, and/or use of illegal drugs on the campus of the University are regulated by the laws and statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States and is therefore prohibited.  When University officials confiscate illegal drugs, such items will be surrendered to Public Safety for proper disposal and may be turned over to the Philadelphia Police Department.

The University reserves the right to test students for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system upon reasonable suspicion or for other reasons identified below. If, for example, a university staff or faculty member reasonably suspects that a student is impaired while in class or unfit for duty while on an experiential experience, the student can be referred for an evaluation.    The results of the evaluation will be shared with appropriate university administrators for further action or referral, if needed.  

Screening for drugs and alcohol may be required of students for the following reasons:

  • Pre-employment screening for students electing to take paid or volunteer positions at Jefferson or within Jefferson Health;
  • Pre-placement prior to a rotation at an outside site, if required by the outside institution;
  • Periodic screenings as a student according to the college/school requirements;
  • NCAA reserves the right to randomly drug test student-athletes during eligibility;
  • The University and the athletic department reserve the right to request a supervised drug test of any student athlete suspected;
  • For reasonable suspicion.

Students will sign consent for testing with acknowledgement that the results of the tests may be shared with university administrators.  Refusal to sign the consent or submit to drug and alcohol screening will have the same effect as a positive test result.

(1)   Drug Policy Violations

The following actions are considered violation of the University’s Alcohol, Drug and Other Prohibited Substances Policy and will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

(a)  Any student attending a university event, class or experiential experience under the influence of prohibited drugs or who has a positive drug screen

(b) Except as permitted by law, consumption, use, distribution, manufacture, transportation, or possession of illegal drugs or any controlled substance on campus (including, but not limited to, marijuana, inhalants, and abuse of over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs)

(c) Being under the influence of illegal drugs or any controlled substance (including, but not limited to, marijuana, inhalants, and abuse of over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs) as indicated by appearance or behavior, such as: slurred speech, unstable walk, unconsciousness, destruction of property, use of abusive language, smell, vomiting or disturbance to others;

(d) Sale, distribution, or trade of illegal or prescription drugs; and

(e)  Possession of drug or drug-related paraphernalia.

(f) Any student who diverts medication for personal or other use

(2)  Host Responsibilities – University Housing

The resident(s) in whose room/apartment/townhouse illegal drugs are being consumed or in which other violations of this policy are being committed is (are) responsible for the behavior of guests and will be held accountable for policy violations.  It is the responsibility of the host to ensure that guests do not consume illegal drugs or otherwise violate this policy. Students found responsible for violating hosting standards will be subject to sanctions above and beyond those outlined in the Community Standards.

(3)  In-the-Presence-of Illegal Drugs Violations

A student found by University staff to be in the presence of illegal drugs will be subject to a hearing in which a community standards officer will determine if the student committed any of the violations described above.  Students found to be in the presence of illegal drugs but not using drugs will be considered responsible for condoning the violation of community standards and may be sanctioned with an educational sanction, probation and/or a written warning, among other repercussions.

The presence of marijuana within a room/apartment/townhouse may be determined by odor or odor-masking devices, by paraphernalia and/or through other materials later determined through testing to be marijuana or marijuana-related. Students finding themselves in the presence of drugs and/or drug-related paraphernalia should immediately vacate the situation and notify a staff member of Housing and/or Residence Life or Safety and Security.

(4) Medical Marijuana

Jefferson will seek to accommodate a legally certified medical marijuana user when possible and appropriate depending on the student’s course of study and ability to maintain the safety of patients or others.  A student who obtains a registration card from the state’s recognized agent to certify medical marijuana must submit a copy of the registration card to Student Accessibility Services to begin the accommodation process and develop a reasonable accommodation plan for responsible use.  Student Accessibility Services will communicate with Occupational Health Network for Employees & Students (Center City) or Student Health Services (East Falls) as needed to determine if such accommodation is reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.  Use of marijuana, including medical marijuana, on Jefferson property, to include University Housing, or at any place of employment at Jefferson is prohibited.

In Pennsylvania, approved forms of medical marijuana include pills, oil, topical forms, including gel, creams, or ointments, tincture, and liquid.  Medical marijuana can also be in a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant form for administration by vaporization only.

(5) Medication

Controlled substances legally prescribed by a licensed health care provider, as well as some other medications, can influence performance and behavior.  For this reason, students in safety sensitive programs or roles, such as those with clinical experiences or those working with dangerous items or equipment in a shop or laboratory setting, should obtain from their health care provider information regarding any potential impairment by such medications and refrain from use of medications that may cause impairment.  Where impairment potential exists, the student must inform the Occupational Health Network for Employees & Students (Center City) or Student Health Services (East Falls) for consultation and potential assessment; additional documentation from a physician may be required.  The student may be referred to inform the clinical instructor and supervisor of the risk.

(6) Sanctions for Drug Policy Violations

While the University Community Standards system does impose punitive sanctions for violations of the drug and alcohol policies, it also requires students to complete developmental sanctions designed to educate students and foster personal growth.  These sanctions are applicable to both residential and commuter students. Sanctions are listed in the Community Standards, found here.

Any student found to be in violation of the drug policy during a probationary period will have subsequent sanctions increased significantly. Any student documented for providing students with drugs is subject to doubling of the fine for the violation level. A community standards body may apply sanctions at their discretion depending upon the quantity and type of drugs involved in a case or by the number of people impacted by the violation, among other factors. All fines collected are dedicated to substance abuse-education efforts, non-alcoholic events, and community-building programs on campus.

(7) Parental Notification

In addition, the University reserves the right to notify parents, if deemed necessary.   In those circumstances, the student will in most cases be notified that the parental notification is taking place.

(8) Study Abroad Policy on Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Students studying abroad, for either a semester or a short course, are responsible for following this policy as well as the policies related to Drug and Alcohol Use available in Office of International and Domestic Study Away Programs in East Falls.

IV. Counseling, Treatment, and Prevention

Students may seek support for substance use disorders through the Student Personal Counseling Center or through Occupational Health Network for Employees & Students on the Center City campus and Counseling Services and Health Services on the East Falls Campus. Clinicians are trained to address substance abuse and the impact such abuse may have on a student. Students can schedule an appointment to have a confidential conversation with a clinician to discuss their concerns. Students in need of more specialized treatment or assessment will be referred to community providers. It is each student’s responsibility to seek and accept assistance before alcohol or drug problems lead to an event or situation warranting disciplinary action.

Students who are sanctioned through the community standards process because of a violation of the University's Alcohol and other Drug Policy may be mandated to undergo an Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) assessment and/or substance abuse treatment. The purpose of an AOD assessment is to assess the student's use of alcohol and other drugs and reduce harm. Students required to attend substance abuse treatment through a sanctioning process will need to obtain such treatment outside of the University, as Counseling Services does not participate in mandated treatment. However, Counseling Services can assist with community referrals.

The University carries out outreach and prevention efforts focused on alcohol and drug education. Such programs include University orientations, speaker programs, Mental Health First Aid trainings, sponsorship of alcohol-free events, passive and active outreach/education, anonymous online screenings, in-person screenings, and online healthy living/wellness resource education.

 

Appendix A - Health risks of drug and alcohol abuse

Alcohol and other drugs can dramatically affect the body and the mind.  Alcohol enters the bloodstream almost immediately, circulating to the brain and all organs. It depresses the central nervous system, slowing the thought process, reflexes and other motor skills.  Mentally, alcohol's effects may vary.  A person may find him or herself to be confused, moody, angry, emotional, and/or disoriented.  Larger doses can result in unconsciousness, coma, and/or death. Statistics show that alcohol use is involved in a majority of violent behaviors on college campuses. Dangers associated with the use of alcohol include, and are not limited to, addiction, damage to vital organs, personal and automobile accidents, social problems (family, school, and job problems), birth defects, and other serious physical problems.

 Marijuana negatively impacts physical coordination and sensory perception and impairs judgment, reasoning skills and memory.  Marijuana use has also been linked to chronic anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, among other mental health problems. Frequent users often have a lowered immune system and an increased risk of lung cancer.

Users of ecstasy typically experience severe depression and fatigue as the drug wears off.  Ecstasy has also been linked to internal hemorrhaging (bleeding), permanent brain damage and failure of body organs including the kidneys, heart and liver.

Inhalants produce an effect that may be similar to alcohol intoxication. Initial symptoms described by abusers who were "huffing" include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and loss of inhibition. Long-term inhalant abusers can suffer damaging health consequences including depression and mood changes, weight loss, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and/or weakness. More serious consequences can include permanent damage to the brain and other organs or even death. Sudden cardiac death from fatal cardiac arrhythmias has been reported even in teen inhalant abusers. Death from huffing can occur upon the first time of use or after prolonged inhalant abuse. Other causes of death related to huffing include asphyxiation, aspiration, or suffocation.

Other drugs, such as cocaine, LSD (acid), and heroin, impact the mind and body in different ways, but each has dangerous (and often deadly) effects on the people who use them. Cocaine, for instance, raises blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature; narrows arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart; causes tremors, convulsions, nausea and vomiting; and can lead to failure of the respiratory system. Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, beyond the physical health risks, may cause severe psychological distress including panic and psychotic episodes that can last for weeks or months and return as flashbacks years later.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused include opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants and stimulants.

Opioids are prescribed to treat pain. Opioids may lead to drug abuse with physical dependence and/or addiction. Opioids can also be life threatening in an overdose. When they are taken with substances that depress the central nervous system -- including alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), or diazepam (Valium) -- there is a greatly increased risk of respiratory depression, even death.

CNS depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin), are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Using CNS depressants with alcohol can slow down your heart and breathing and lead to death. After taking CNS depressants for a long period of time, stopping suddenly can have life-threatening consequences such as withdrawal seizures.

Stimulants, such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall) or methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin), are prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Taken appropriately and under a doctor's supervision, these drugs and other stimulants are safe. When they are used by people that they were not prescribed for or taken in higher doses to get a high -- they have the potential for addiction and ongoing abuse. Using stimulants with decongestants may cause irregular heart rhythms and high doses of stimulants can cause high body temperatures.

Appendix B - Local, State and Federal Laws

(1)   Alcohol

Under the statutes of the Commonwealth Pennsylvania, a person who is less than 21 years of age commits a summary offense if he/she attempts to purchase, consume, possess or transport alcohol.  If convicted of this offense, the minor's driver's license will be suspended for 90 days.  There is a $300 fine for a first offense and second offense will yield a fine up to $500.  The police must notify the parents of any individual under the age of 18 charged with violating this law.

Any person who intentionally provides alcohol to a minor will be convicted of a misdemeanor of the third degree.  There will be a $1,000 fine for the first offense and a $2,500 fine for subsequent offenses.  Maximum penalties are $2,500 in fines and one-year imprisonment.

(2)   False ID Cards

Minors carrying or using false ID cards face a 90-day driver's license suspension and are subject to fines up to $500. For subsequent offenses, a driver's license can be suspended for one year for the second offense and two years for additional offenses.  Imprisonment is possible for up to 90 days for the first offense and one year in prison is possible for subsequent offenses.

Manufacturing and/or selling a false ID card has been made a criminal offense, punishable by minimum fines of $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 for subsequent offenses. Maximum penalties are $5,000 in fines and two years in prison.

(3)   Drugs

There are both federal and state laws that proscribe the possession, use and distribution of illegal drugs, including the misuse and/or unauthorized possession and/or distribution of prescribed medications. The sanctions for violating these laws consist in many cases of mandatory imprisonment coupled with substantial fines. The penalties for any given offense vary widely depending on the nature of the offense and the type/quantity of drug involved.

For instance, under federal law, simple possession of a controlled substance carries with it a penalty of imprisonment of no more than one year, plus a fine of an amount between $1,000 and $5,000. If the controlled substance contains a cocaine base and the amount exceeds five grams, the offender will be imprisoned for not less than five years and not more than twenty years, or fined, or both.

Also under federal law, anyone who is at least 18 years old and who distributes drugs to anyone under age 21 will be imprisoned and/or fined up to twice what is otherwise provided by law, with a minimum prison sentence of one year.

Pennsylvania has statutes prohibiting the use, possession and distribution of drugs that are similarly strict.  In addition to imposing fines and/or prison terms for violations of its drug laws, Pennsylvania recently enacted a forfeiture statute. Under this statute, when the state arrests someone for violating its laws concerning the use, possession or distribution of drugs, the state will seize and that person will forfeit all property that was used to accomplish the violation of Pennsylvania's anti-drug laws, including any automobile used in connection with violating Pennsylvania anti-drug laws.

Philadelphia Ordinance 10-2100 (Marijuana Possession, Title 10 - REGULATION OF INDIVIDUAL CONDUCT AND ACTIVITY) identifies the penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. Small amount of marijuana means thirty grams or less of marijuana. The penalty for possession of a small amount of marijuana by an adult or minor under the age of 18 shall be a civil fine of $25.00 for each violation. The penalty for smoking a small amount of marijuana by an adult or minor under the age of 18 shall be a civil fine of $100.00 for each violation. The court may in its discretion suspend the fine imposed if the person found liable agrees to and does in fact perform such community service, as the court deems appropriate, up to nine hours.

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