Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act
AMENDMENTS OF 1989 PUBLIC LAW 101-226
The University of Massachusetts Amherst, in accordance with both federal legislation and existing University policy, is committed to providing a drug-free, healthful, and safe environment for all faculty, staff and students.
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance, and the unauthorized possession or use of alcoholic beverages on the Amherst campus or as part of any University activity or business off University premises is prohibited. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, expulsion of students, and referral for prosecution may result as deemed appropriate. Applicable legal sanctions for the unlawful possession or distribution of drugs and alcohol are summarized in the following section.
The University recognizes alcohol and drug dependency as an illness and a major health problem. Alcohol is the number one drug problem in this country and on campus. Drinking alcohol has acute effects on the body. It impairs judgement, vision, coordination and speech and often leads to dangerous risk-taking behavior. These may include drunken driving, injuries and serious accidents. Nearly half of all accidental deaths, suicides and homicides are alcohol related. The misuse of alcohol is often involved in violent behavior, acquaintance rape, unintended pregnancies, and the exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. Long-term excessive drinking and drug use can lead to a wide variety of health problems in many different organ systems.
The use of drugs and alcohol can cause physical and psychological dependence. They can interfere with memory, sensation and perception. Drugs impair the brain's ability to synthesize information. Regular users of drugs develop tolerance and physical dependence often experienced by withdrawal symptoms. The psychological dependence occurs when the drug taking becomes central to the user's life.
Employees who need help with substance abuse problems and co-workers/family members of substance abusers are encouraged to use the University Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (545-0350). Services include assessment, referral to professional treatment and self-help programs, an early recovery group and extensive follow-up. All contacts are confidential and conscientious efforts to seek help will not jeopardize any employee's job.
Students with substance abuse problems are encouraged to use the full range of educational and treatment services provided by the University Health Services (UHS). UHS and the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Prevention offer programs and services for students affected by alcohol or other substance use:
- MyStudentBody is an online alcohol education program required for all first-year students and recommended for everyone; visit www.mystudentbody.com.
- BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) uses a non-judgmental, non-confrontational approach to help students avoid further negative alcohol-related consequences; call 577-5071.
- Fresh & Sober provides support for students recovering or seeking recovery from alcohol and/or other drugs; call 577-5188.
- Mental Health Services offers individual and group counseling and referrals; call 545-2337.
- The Athletic Health Enhancement Program, a collaboration of UHS and UMass Athletics, focuses on the alcohol and drug concerns of varsity athletes; call 545-4588.
The UHS website includes current lists of recovery resources, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon; go to www.umass.edu/uhs.
For more information, call UHS’ Health Education Department, 577-5181.
This information has been compiled and distributed to all members of the campus community to meet the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. In addition to this policy, other University policies remain in force. These policies are available in the following documents, as appropriate: University Alcoholic Beverage Policy, Code of Student Conduct, Faculty Handbook, AFSCME Handbook, Drug Free Workplace Act.
SUMMARY OF LEGAL SANCTIONS FOR THE UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ILLICIT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL PROVIDED IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES ACT
Local, state, and federal laws make illegal uses of drugs and alcohol serious crimes. Conviction can lead to imprisonment, fines and assigned community service. A felony conviction for such an offense can prevent an individual from entering many fields of employment and licensed professions.
Cities and towns in Massachusetts, specifically Amherst, prohibit public consumption of alcohol and impose fines for violation. The Metropolitan District Commission also prohibits public consumption of alcohol in its parks.
Massachusetts laws prohibit sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 with a fine of up to $2,000 and 6 months imprisonment, or both for violations. Misrepresenting one's age or falsifying an identification to obtain alcoholic beverages is punishable by a fine of $300. A first conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol has a penalty of a $1,000 fine, one-year revocation of driver's license, up to two years in prison, and mandatory participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Massachusetts has criminal penalties for the illicit use of controlled substances (or "drugs"), with penalties varying with the type of drug. In general, narcotics, addictive drugs, and drugs with a high potential for abuse have heavier penalties.
A law enacted in Massachusetts in August, 1990, imposes a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment for causing, inducing or abetting a person under eighteen years old to distribute, disperse or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, or to deliver or possess money in conjunction with such controlled substances.
Possession of drugs is illegal without valid authorization. While penalties for possession are generally not as great as for manufacture and distribution of drugs, possession of a relatively large quantity may be considered distribution. Under both state and federal laws, penalties for possession, manufacture and distribution are much greater for second and subsequent convictions. Many laws dictate mandatory prison terms and the full minimum term must be served.
Massachusetts makes it illegal to be in a place where heroin is kept and to be "in the company" of a person known to possess heroin. Anyone in the presence of heroin at a private party risks a serious drug conviction. Sale and possession of "drug paraphernalia" is illegal in Massachusetts.
Persons convicted of drug possession under state or federal law may be ineligible for federal student grants and loans for up to one year after the first conviction and five years after the second; the penalty for distributing drugs is loss of benefits for five years after the first, 10 years after the second and permanently after the third conviction.
Under Federal law, distribution of drugs to persons under age 21 is punishable by twice the normal penalty with a mandatory one year in prison; a third conviction is punishable by mandatory life imprisonment. These penalties apply to distribution of drugs in or within 1,000 feet of a college or school. Federal law sets greatly heightened prison sentences for the manufacture and distribution of drugs if death or serious injury results from use of the substance.