Alcohol and Drug Policy

The University of Virginia does not condone the illegal or otherwise irresponsible use of alcohol and other drugs. It is the responsibility of every member of the University community to know the risks associated with substance use and abuse. This responsibility obligates students and employees to know relevant University policies and federal, state and local laws and to conduct themselves in accordance with these laws and policies. To these ends, the University publishes the following information regarding University policies and sanctions; laws and penalties concerning substance use and abuse; health and behavioral risks of drug use; and resources for treatment and educational programming.

Alcohol
Virginia State laws concerning the purchase, possession, consumption, sale and storage of alcoholic beverages include the following: (1) Any sale of an alcoholic beverage requires an ABC license; (2) Alcoholic beverages are not to be given or sold to persons under 21 years of age; (3) Alcoholic beverages are not to be given or sold to persons who are intoxicated; (4) State law prohibits: drinking in unlicensed public places; possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person under 21 years of age; falsely representing one's age for the purpose of procuring alcohol; and purchasing an alcoholic beverage for a person who is under 21 years of age.

The University of Virginia assumes no responsibility for any liability incurred at any event not sponsored by the University where alcohol is served and/or sold. Students and Contracted Student Organizations are always expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and to assume full responsibility for their activities and events.

Areas of Emphasis

  1. The Vice President for Student Affairs and his/her designate approves all public areas on the Grounds of the University where alcoholic beverages may be served.
  2. University funds may not be used for the illegal purchase of alcoholic beverages.
  3. Alcoholic beverages purchased with University funds may be used only in compliance with State law.
  4. Events, whether planned or spontaneous, involving the possession/distribution/consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited in and around the first year residence halls.
  5. Alcoholic beverages should not be served at any function or event sponsored by the University or held on University-owned or leased property which will be attended by underage students. Exceptions to the policy include Pavilion XI. Requests for exceptions must be presented to the Office of the Dean of Students. TIPS-trained personnel must be present to supervise the distribution of alcohol.
  6. Non-alcoholic beverages and food items should be present at the University-sponsored events where alcoholic beverages are served.
  7. Alcoholic beverages should not be mentioned in the advertising or publicizing of a University-sponsored event.
  8. Organizations serving alcohol at University-sponsored events should not permit the entry or exit of persons with beverage containers.
  9. Organizations should check for proper age identification of individuals attending events when alcohol is served.
  10. A student may not let another person use his/her student ID for the purpose of obtaining an alcoholic beverage.
  11. University Dining Services and the University Union are the only organizations eligible to obtain an ABC license for the purpose of selling alcoholic beverages on Grounds.
  12. Any organization, as well as its leadership, sponsoring an event at the University will be responsible for following all State laws relative to the serving and/or selling of alcoholic beverages.
  13. Members of the University community living on property owned or leased by the University, and their invited guests, who are lawfully permitted to purchase, possess and use alcohol, may do so in the residence or on any immediately adjacent area devoted to residential use; they should not do so, however, in public places or in any area owned by the University devoted to common use. The presence of underage family members, employees or guests does not preclude the serving of alcohol in University-owned or leased housing provided an appropriate of age family member and/or host is willing to assume the legal responsibility for insuring compliance with state law.
  14. Additional regulations governing the use of alcohol in Newcomb Hall/Peabody Hall/Lambeth Commons Building/Student Activities Building can be obtained in Newcomb Hall.
  15. Possession of kegs, pony kegs or beer balls is prohibited in University-owned residence facilities.
Drugs
Unauthorized manufacture, distribution and possession of "controlled substances" (illegal drugs), including marijuana, cocaine and LSD, are prohibited by both state and federal law and are punishable by severe penalties. The University does not tolerate or condone such conduct. Students who violate state or federal drug laws may be referred by University authorities for criminal prosecution and, if convicted, may be subject to the penalties described herein.

Whether or not criminal charges are brought, all students are subject to University discipline for illegally manufacturing, distributing, possessing or using any controlled substance (i) on University-owned or leased property, (ii) at University-sponsored or supervised functions, or (iii) under other circumstances involving a direct and substantial connection to the University. Any student found to have engaged in such conduct is subject to the entire range of University sanctions described in the Conduct policy, including suspension and expulsion.

Federal and State Penalties  Under the federal Controlled Substances Act and the Virginia Drug Control Act, the law penalizes for unlawful manufacturing, distribution, use, and possession of controlled substances. The penalties vary based on the type of drug involved, possession and intent to distribute. Federal law sets penalties for first offenses ranging from one year to life imprisonment and/or $100,000 to $4 million fines. Penalties may include forfeiture of property, including vehicles used to possess, transport or conceal a controlled substance or denial of Federal benefits such as student loans and professional licenses. Convictions under state law may be misdemeanor or felony crimes with sanctions ranging from six months to life imprisonment and/or $250 to $100,000 fines.

Federal law holds that any person who distributes, possesses with intent to distribute, or manufactures a controlled substance, on or within one thousand feet of an educational facility is subject to a doubling of the applicable maximum punishments and fines. A similar state law carries sanctions of up to five years imprisonment and up to $100,000 fine for similar violations.

Intercollegiate Athletic Department's Drug/Alcohol Policy   The Intercollegiate Athletic Department of the University has additional written policies which are presented to each student athlete annually prior to participation. These policies encompass mandatory drug testing; sanctions as a result of positive tests; specific programs of education relative to drug and alcohol use and abuse; and counseling and rehabilitation programs.

Drug-Free Workplace Policy
The use of alcohol by employees while on University of Virginia owned or controlled property, including meal periods and breaks, is absolutely prohibited except when authorized by the University for approved University functions. No employee will report to work while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Violations of these rules by an employee will be reason for evaluation/treatment for a substance use disorder or for disciplinary action up to and including removal. This policy applies to all employees (full-time, part-time, students, etc.).

Health and Behavioral Risks
The negative physical and mental effects of the use of alcohol and other drugs are well-documented. Use of these drugs may cause: blackouts, poisoning and overdose; physical and psychological dependence; damage to vital organs such as the brain, heart and liver; inability to learn and remember information; and psychological problems including depression, psychosis and severe anxiety. Risks associated with specific drugs are described later in this section.

Impaired judgment and coordination resulting from the use of drugs are associated with acquaintance assault and rape; DUI/DWI arrests; hazing; falls, drownings and other injuries; contracting sexually-transmitted diseases including AIDS; and unwanted or unplanned sexual experiences and pregnancy.

The substance abuse of family members and friends may also be of concern to students. Patterns of risk-taking behavior and dependency not only interfere in the lives of the abusers, but can also have a negative impact on the effected students' academic work, emotional well-being and adjustment to college life.

Students concerned about their own health or that of a friend should consult a physician or mental health professional. More information and assistance can be obtained by contacting one of the University's substance abuse resources listed in this policy or a community resource listed in the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

Alcohol  Alcohol abuse is a progressive disorder in which physical dependency can develop. Even low doses of alcohol impair brain function, judgment, alertness, coordination and reflexes. Very high doses cause suppression of respiration and death. Chronic alcohol abuse can produce dementia, sexual impotence, cirrhosis of the liver and heart disease, and sudden withdrawal can produce severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and life-threatening convulsions.

Marijuana (Cannabis)  Marijuana has negative physical and mental effects. Physical effects include elevated blood pressure, a dry mouth and throat, bloodshot and swollen eyes, decrease in body temperature and increased appetite. Frequent and/or long-time users may develop chronic lung disease and damage to the pulmonary system.

Use of marijuana is also associated with impairment of short-term memory and comprehension, an altered sense of time, and a reduction in the ability to perform motor skills such as driving a car. Marijuana use also produces listlessness, inattention, withdrawal and apathy. It also can intensify underlying emotional problems and is associated with chronic anxiety, depression and paranoia.

Hallucinogens  This category includes phencyclidine (PCP or "angel dust"), and amphetamine variants which have mind-altering effects. Perception and cognition are impaired and muscular coordination decreases. Speech is blocked and incoherent. Chronic users of PCP may have memory problems and speech difficulties lasting 6 months to a year after prolonged daily use. Depression, anxiety and violent behavior also occur. High psychological dependence on the drug may result in taking large doses of PCP. Large doses produce convulsions, comas, and heart and lung failure.

Lysergic acid dyethylamine (L.S.D. or "acid"), mescaline and psilocybin (mushrooms) cause illusions, hallucinations and altered perception of time and space. Physical effects include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, decreased appetite, insomnia and tremors. Psychological reactions include panic, confusion, paranoia, anxiety and loss of control. Flashbacks, or delayed effects, can occur even after use has ceased.

Cocaine  Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Immediate physical effects include dilated pupils and increased blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use may destroy nasal tissues. Following the "high" of extreme happiness and a sense of unending energy is a cocaine "crash" including depression, dullness, intense anger and paranoia. Injecting cocaine with contaminated equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases. Tolerance develops rapidly, and psychological and physical dependency can occur.

Crack or "rock" is extremely addictive and produces the most intense cocaine high. The use of cocaine can cause kidney damage, heart attacks, seizures and strokes due to high blood pressure. Death can occur by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

Stimulants  Amphetamines and other stimulants include "ecstasy" and "ice." The physical effects produced are elevated heart and respiratory rates, increased blood pressure, insomnia and loss of appetite. Sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and anxiety may also result from use. High dosage can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of motor skills and even physical collapse. Long-term use of higher doses can produce amphetamine psychosis which includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

Depressants  Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are two of the most commonly used groups of these drugs. Barbiturates include phenobarbital, seconal and amytal; benzodiazepines include ativan, dalmane, librium, xanax, valium, halcion and restoril. These drugs are frequently used for medical purposes to relieve anxiety and to induce sleep. Physical and psychological dependence can occur if the drugs are used for longer periods of time at higher doses. Benzodiazepine use can cause slurred speech, disorientation and lack of coordination. If taken with alcohol, abuse can lead to a coma and possible death.

Narcotics  Narcotics include heroin, methadone, morphine, codeine and opium. After an initial feeling of euphoria, usage causes drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Effects of overdose include slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma and possible death. Physical and psychological dependence is high and severe withdrawal symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills and sweating. Use of contaminated syringes may cause AIDS and hepatitis.


Resources

Educational Programming
Institute for Substance Abuse Studies  -- The coordinating body for substance abuse prevention, education, treatment and research at the University (924- 5276).
Peer Health Educators -- A peer group trained in substance abuse information providing informal educational sessions (924-1509).
University Police Department  -- Officers providing information and seminars in the legal aspects of areas related to substance abuse (924-7166).

Consultation and Treatment
Addiction Science Center  -- Outpatient treatment program with free initial evaluation and consultation (924-0399).
Addiction Treatment Program  -- Inpatient treatment program at Blue Ridge Hospital (924-5555).
Counseling Center  -- Individual counseling and ongoing groups including support for Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOAs) (924-3751).
Student Health  -- Alcohol and Drug Clinician available in the Mental Health Division for confidential evaluation and treatment of students with substance abuse concerns. Family and group sessions, including groups for ACOAs and recovering students, also available (924-5556).
Aid to Impaired Medical Students  -- Information, consultation, intervention and referrals for medical students (924-9130).
Aid to Impaired Residents  -- Information, consultation, intervention and referrals for Health Sciences Center residents (924-2047).
Assistance on Substance Abuse for Professional Nurses  -- Information, consultation, intervention and referrals for licensed professional nurses (924-5555).
Employee Assistance Program  -- Information, consultation, intervention and referrals for faculty and staff (982-1665).