UMass Amherst Dean of Students Office

Dean of Students Office
UMass Amherst students

  • MyStudentBody is an online alcohol education program required for all first-year students and recommended for everyone; visit
  • 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

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.


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.

September, 2007