Drug-Free Schools Policy Statement

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HEALTH RISKS OF ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS

(Adapted, in part, from U.S. Department of Education, Schools Without Drugs) 

Alcohol Abuse 

Although only a small number of university students develop chronic alcohol problems, a substantial percentage of students are involved in incidents of inappropriate drinking, or binge drinking, which is defined as consuming five drinks in a row for men and four for women within two hours. This behavior results in nausea and vomit­ing, driving while intoxicated, hangovers, fights, vandalism and/or alcohol­related arrests. The vast majority of all student arrests, cam­pus disciplinary problems, academic difficulties and campus vandalism are alcohol related. By controlling the amount of alcohol consumed at any one time, the number of such incidents can be greatly reduced. In addition, individuals in the immediate community are likely to experience difficulties as a result of the drinking behaviors of others.
 
Short-­Term Intoxication 
Consumption of more than two average­sized servings of alcohol with­in several hours will produce measurable impairment of motor coordi­nation and reasoning. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the impairment. Although many states, including Indiana, set a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent by volume as a presump­tive level of intoxication for certain purposes, intoxication and impairment begin at a much lower level. It is safest to totally avoid alcohol consumption when planning to operate a vehicle or engage in risky recreational activities. At intoxication levels of 0.20 percent BAC and above, individuals risk loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, injuries, and even overdose death. Although the average lethal dose is about 0.40 percent, overdose deaths have occurred in some situations with BACs near 0.20 percent. 
 
Long­-Term Heavy Drinking 
Drinking to the point of intoxication one to two times a week or more frequently over a period of several years can pose serious health consequences, including liver disease and cirrhosis, circulatory prob­lems and cardiomyopathy, nervous­system damage and polyneuropa­thy, alcohol dependence, and psychosis. Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of certain types of cancers, including cancer of the tongue, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx and liver. The cancer­producing effects of alcohol abuse increase with the use of tobacco. Current research indicates that men and women do not respond to alcohol in the same way. Women can expect substantially more impairment than can men at equivalent doses.

Narcotics 

Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Users also may experience con­stricted pupils and watery and itching eyes. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma and possibly death. Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly, and depend­ence is likely. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
 
Marijuana is a heavily abused narcotic. Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short­term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coor­dination, such as driving a car. Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis. Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana contains more cancer­causing agents than tobacco.
 
Heroin affects the central nervous system by relieving pain and induc­ing sleep. It may also cause constricted pupils, nausea, and respiratory depression, which in its extremes can result in death. Heroin activates brain regions that produce euphoric sensations and brain regions that produce physical dependence — hence its notorious ability to produce both psychological and physical addiction. Its addictiveness is characterized by persistent craving for the drug, tolerance (the need for larger and larger doses to get the same results), and painful and dangerous withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include panic, nausea, muscle cramps, chills, and insomnia. Heroin use during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Infants exposed to heroin in the womb go through withdrawal at birth and exhibit various developmental problems. Besides the danger of over­dose, addicts are susceptible to malnutrition, hepatitis, pneumonia, and AIDS.

Designer Drugs 

Illegal drugs are defined in terms of their chemical formulas. To cir­cumvent legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecu­lar structure of certain drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs. These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Analogs of amphetamines and methamphetamines cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression and paranoia. As little as one dose can cause brain damage. The analogs of phencyclidine cause illusions, hallucinations, and impaired perception.
 
Ecstasy users experience pupil dilation, jaw clenching, shutter vision, general restlessness, loss of appetite/taste sensation changes, lack of concentration, tingling, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, mood swings, temporary depression, weight loss, and loss of consciousness. Heavy use has been linked to speed­like symptoms of paranoia, and in some cases, liver damage and heart attacks.

Stimulants 

Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety.
 
Cocaine is the most potent stimulant of natural origin. Chronic use of cocaine through snorting can ulcerate the mucus membrane of the nose. Injecting cocaine with unsterile equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency; tolerance develops rapidly. Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive,and its effects are felt within 10 seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia and seizures. The use of any form of cocaine can cause death by disrupting the brain’s control of the heart and respiration.
 
Amphetamines can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure, which can result in stroke, very high fever or heart failure. Additionally, users report feeling restless, anxious and moody. High doses intensify the effects. Those who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucina­tions, delusions and paranoia.
 
Methamphetamine (Meth) is a highly potent and addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. Meth releases high levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which stimulates brain cells and enhances mood and body movement. Immediate effects of meth include decreased appetite, irregular heartbeat, hypothermia, and elevated blood pressure. Effects of chronic use include addiction, mood disturbances, insomnia, extreme anorexia, tremors, severe dental problems, and violent behavior. Chronic use may additionally lead to brain damage. Using needles, syringes, and other equipment to inject meth increases the risk of contracting HIV or Hepatitis B and C. This drug is found in many forms including white powder and clear, crystal­like chunks (referred to as “crystal meth”). In the powder form, meth dissolves easily in water and alcohol.
 
Diet pills may contain a substance chemically related to ampheta­mines. The abuse of diet pills can cause symptoms similar to those from using amphetamines. Diet pills, along with laxatives and vomit­inducing substances, are often used by individuals with eating disor­ders and can be fatal.
 
Energy drinks, while legal, are considered addictive stimulants that can be abused. Energy drinks mixed with alcohol or with other drugs produce a heightened sensation. Combining alcohol and stimulant drinks can mask how intoxicated an individual feels and can give the person the impression he/she is not impaired. Both energy drinks and alcohol are dehydrating. Dehydration can hinder the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and will increase the toxicity.

Depressants 

The effects of depressants are, in many ways, similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and relaxed muscles, but larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering and altered per­ception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks. The use of depres­sants can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Regular use over time may result in a tolerance to the drug, leading the user to increase the quantity consumed. When regular users suddenly stop taking large doses, they may develop withdrawal symptoms that include restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions or death.
 
Rohypnol is a very potent tranquilizer similar to, but many times stronger than, Valium. The drug produces an amnesia­like effect, muscle relaxation and a slowing of psychomotor responses. Rohypnol, also called the “date rape drug” or “roofies”, is often combined with alcohol, marijuana or cocaine to produce a rapid and very dramatic “high.” This may lead to respiratory depression, aspiration or death. Even if the drug is used by itself, users may appear extremely intoxi­cated with slurred speech, no coordination, swaying and bloodshot eyes. This drug is often given to individuals, without their consent, in order to produce confusion and lower inhibitions.

Prescription Drugs 

Research has shown that prescription drug abuse is an increasing concern in the United States, with two leading abused prescription drugs being OxyContin and Ritalin.
 
OxyContin is a morphine­like narcotic that contains a high dose of oxycodone and is prescribed to treat chronic pain. Other drugs con­taining oxycodone include Percodan and Percocet; these also have a history of abuse. Research has shown that users tend to mix OxyContin with other painkillers, marijuana, or alcohol. Short­term effects include blocked pain messages and drowsiness. Large doses can cause severe respiratory complications and possibly even death.
 
Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is a prescribed stimulant used to treat attention­deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder. It produces an effect more potent than caffeine but less potent than amphetamines.
 
Although the drug is prescribed orally, users will also snort and inject Ritalin. Misuse is characterized by students attempting to suppress appetite and remain awake, particularly to study. Very high doses of Ritalin can lead to irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, cardio­vascular system failure, and seizure. If Ritalin is dissolved in water and injected, it can block small blood vessels, damage lungs, and impair eyesight.

Hallucinogens 

PCP users report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties. Some of these effects may last for up to a year after prolonged daily use. Mood disorders, depression, anxiety and violent behavior may also occur. In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations. Large doses may cause experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even after use has ceased.
 
LSD use can have long­lasting or even permanent psychoemotional effects. LSD experiences can range from indescribably ecstatic to extraordinarily difficult; many difficult experiences (or “bad trips”) result from a panicked user feeling that he or she has been perma­nently severed from reality.

Anabolic Steroids 

Anabolic steroids are often misused in an attempt to increase muscle strength or bulk. Even small amounts of anabolic steroids may result in serious health consequences such as liver problems, high blood pressure, changes in blood chemistry, hardening of the arteries and weakness in heart muscle tissue. Breast, prostate, or bladder cancer are also potential health consequences associated with anabolic steroid use. Steroid use by adolescents may stop bone growth result­ing in smaller, shorter body size. Other side effects often include acne, decreased immune­system response, aggressiveness, and person­ality changes. Males who use steroids may suffer from premature baldness, decreased testicle size and function, lower sperm count, decreased sex drive, and unwanted body hair.
 
 

STATE LAW AND UNIVERSITY STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

 
Violations of alcohol and drug policies and laws will result in a referral to the University Conduct Process. Outcomes could include warnings, fines, alcohol and/or drug assessments, education, disciplinary probation, temporary dis­missal and permanent dismissal. Student organizations also may be sanctioned for violations of these policies and laws.
 
Students found responsible for possession or use of illegal drugs or controlled substances, the unauthorized possession or misuse of prescription drugs, or the possession of drug paraphernalia may face temporary dismissal from the University. Students found responsible for distribution of illegal drugs and substances, including the illicit redistribution of prescription drugs, may face permanent dismissal from the University.
 
Under Indiana State Law, it is unlawful to possess, use, or dis­tribute cocaine, narcotics and other illicit controlled substances, including synthetic cannabinoids and salvia (IC 35­-48-­4-­1 through IC 35-­48-­4-11). It is also unlawful in the State of Indiana to possess, manufacture or design paraphernalia that is intended to be used primarily for introducing controlled substances into one’s body (IC 35-­48-­4-­8.1­-8.3).
 
Students should be aware of Indiana State Law. In summary, the Indiana Codes provide for criminal penalties for a minor who possess­es alcoholic beverages, consumes them or transports them on a public highway (IC 7.1-­5-­7-­7). It is also unlawful for a person to sell, barter, exchange, provide or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a minor (IC 7.1-­5-­7-­8). It is unlawful for a minor to be in a tavern, bar or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold or furnished (IC 7.1­-5-­7-­10). However, there are exceptions which permit the minor to enter such facilities but not to drink alcoholic beverages, including a civic center, bowling alley, sports arena and that part of a hotel or restau­rant separate from the room which contains the bar at which alco­holic beverages are sold or dispensed (IC 7.1­-5-­7-­11).
 
A minor may not make a false statement of age or present false or fraudulent evidence of majority or identity . . . for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, attempting to purchase or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure an alcoholic beverage (IC 7.1­-5-­7-­1). It is a misdemeanor for a person to sell, give or furnish to a minor false or fraudulent evidence of majority or identity with the intent to violate a provision of this title (IC 7.1-­5-­7­-2).
 
Students enrolled in international­study programs must obey all laws and ordinances of countries in which they may live or travel during participation in a Notre Dame international study program. Students should be aware that the possession and/or use of illegal drugs can have very grave consequences in foreign countries, often resulting in severe punishment such as long prison terms.
 
It is each student’s responsibility to understand Indiana law as outlined above and also to abide by University regulations regarding the use or possession of alcohol. The regulations are binding on all students: undergraduate, graduate, and professional.
 
 
Drugs other than alcohol can create legal risks for those who use, possess, or transfer them to others. The following is a brief summary of those risks. The summary below is intended to provide an overview of some of the sections relevant to University students and employ­ees. It is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Those needing legal advice should consult an attorney.
 

LAWS CONCERNING OTHER DRUGS

Controlled substances are tightly regulated drugs that have been determined to have special “abuse potential.” Such drugs include marijuana, hashish or hash oil, cocaine, LSD and other hallucinogens, barbiturates and other sedative­hypnotics, amphetamines and other prescription stimulants, MDMA (Ecstasy), PCP and similar drugs.
 
It is illegal under both state and federal law to:
  • manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.
  • possess, deal in, manufacture, or deliver a substance represented to be a controlled substance (including counterfeit “look­alike” drugs, synthetic cannabinoids, and salvia).
  • manufacture, advertise, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, advertise or distribute a substance represented to be a controlled substance.
  • possess, without a valid prescription, a controlled substance.
  • visit a building, structure, vehicle or other place used by any person to unlawfully use a controlled substance.
  • possess, manufacture, deal in or deliver drug paraphernalia (an instrument, device or other object intended for use for introducing a controlled substance into a body or for enhancing the effect or testing of a controlled substance).
Criminal sanctions for such violations can include fines from $5,000 to $10,000 under state law and up to $250,000 under federal law and imprisonment in a state prison for up to 50 years or in a fed­eral prison for up to life. The sanction imposed will be determined by (1) the classification of the controlled substance, (2) the quantity involved, (3) the nature of the offense (sales, use, etc.), (4) the age of the recipient (higher penalties if drugs are sold or given to minors), (5) the location of the offense (higher penalties for posses­sion, sale or delivery near a school) and 6) the prior criminal record of the offender. More detailed information may be obtained by consulting the Indiana Criminal Code or the Federal Controlled Substances Act, as amended. This information is available at the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, 204 Saint Liam Health Center, (574) 631­-7970.
 

Selected Indiana Laws Governing Alcohol and Other Drugs

 

Alcohol 

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated or with 0.15% BAC or above 
Class A Misdemeanor or Class D Felony Up to 1 1/2 years, up to $10,000 fine, suspension of driving privileges
 
Operating a vehicle with 0.08% BAC (but less than 0.15% BAC) 
Class C Misdemeanor or Class D Felony Up to 1 1/2 years, up to $10,000 fines, suspension of driving privileges
 
Operating a vehicle with 0.02­0.08% BAC and under 21 
Class C Infraction Up to $500 fine; drivers license suspended for one year
 
Furnishing alcohol to a minor 
Class C Misdemeanor Up to 60 days and $500 fine
 
Minor possessing alcohol 
Class C Misdemeanor Up to 60 days, up to $500 fine, up to one year suspension of driver’s license if possession is in an automobile
 
Minor in a tavern 
Class C Misdemeanor Up to 60 days and $500 fine; driver’s license suspended for up to one year
 
Possessing/furnishing false ID 
Class C Misdemeanor/Class C Infraction Up to 60 days and $500 fine
 

Marijuana 

(Marijuana offense convictions also result in mandatory suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration for at least 6 months and up to two years) 
 
Selling, possessing or growing marijuana 
Class A Misdemeanor or Class D Felony Up to four years and $10,000 fine
 
Selling marijuana to a minor 
Class D Felony 1 1/2 to four years and $10,000 fine
 
Selling more than 10 pounds of marijuana 
Class C Felony Two to eight years and $10,000 fine
 

Cocaine 

(Cocaine offense convictions also result in mandatory suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration for up to two years) 
 
Possessing cocaine 
Class C or D felony 1 1/2 to eight years and $10,000 fine
 
Possessing cocaine on or near a school or school bus 
Class A or B felony Six to 50 years and $10,000 fine
 
Selling cocaine 
Class A or B felony Six to 50 years and $10,000 fine
 
Selling cocaine to a minor 
Class A felony 20 to 50 years and $10,000 fine
 
Selling cocaine on or near a school or school bus 
Class A felony 20 to 50 years and $10,000 fine