Drugs and Alcohol (Drug-Free School and Community Act of 1989)

Ohio University is unequivocally opposed to the misuse of lawful drugs and the possession and use of unlawful drugs. Pursuant to the requirements of the Drug-Free School and Community Act Amendments of 1989 (PL 101-226), Ohio University has adopted and implemented drug and alcohol policies and programs designed to prevent drug and alcohol problems within the university setting. The policies and programs are designed to identify problems at the earliest stage, motivate the affected individuals to seek help, and to direct the individual toward the best assistance available.

Student & Employee Compliance with Ohio University's Drug and Alcohol Policies

All Ohio University students and employees are expected to abide by the terms of the University's policies. A student and/or employee found to be in possession or illegally using drugs and/or alcohol may be subject to appropriate sanctions. Such sanctions may include:

  • referral for prosecution,
  • termination of employment, and/or
  • referral to The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility for violations of the Student Code of Conduct which may result in reprimand, probation, suspension or expulsion.

A disciplinary sanction may include the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program. Students and employees are guaranteed due process.

Standards of Conduct

Ohio University is committed to maintaining a campus free of illegal drugs or the unlawful use of alcohol or illicit drugs. It is the policy of Ohio University to permit the possession, consumption, and sale of alcoholic beverages on campus in accordance with the laws of the State of Ohio, all ordinances of the City of Athens, the regulations of the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control (DOLC) and the policies of Ohio University.

Resident students who are of legal age may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in private rooms only. Sale or use of alcoholic beverages on university property requires approval of the Director of Baker University Center as well as compliance with University Policy 24.001 "Use/Sale of Alcoholic Beverages on Ohio University Property and in Fraternity/Sorority Housing Units". Ohio University has the responsibility of upholding federal, state, and local laws regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Students who choose to possess or use unlawful drugs or misuse lawful drugs or alcohol subject themselves to both arrest and prosecution, and Ohio University Conduct action.

Ohio University Student Sanctions

In cases of civil or criminal action against an Ohio University student, the University does reserve the right, for educational purposes, to review any action taken by authorities. The University may, at its discretion, introduce further sanctions if the student's conduct has interfered with the University's exercise of its educational objectives or responsibilities to its members.

The Ohio University Student Code of Conduct expressly prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale, offer for sale, or possession of drugs or narcotics. The Student Code of Conduct also prohibits the possession and/or use of marijuana, and the unauthorized use of alcohol. Students found to be in violation of this standard will be subject to the full range of sanctions available under the Student Code of Conduct, including potential suspension or expulsion from the University. Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol does not diminish or excuse the violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

A student admitted to Ohio University accepts the responsibility to conform to all Ohio University rules and regulations. Proven failure to meet this obligation will justify appropriate disciplinary sanctions, including expulsion, suspension, disciplinary probation or reprimand.

Local, State and Federal Laws and Sanctions

Applicable legal sanctions under local, state or federal law for the unlawful use, possession or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol are set forth in the referenced laws.

Athens Municipal Code

Ohio Revised Code Chapters
2925 - Drug Offenses
3719 - Controlled Substances
4301 - Liquor Control Laws

Federal (Harrison) Narcotic Act
Federal Narcotic Drugs
Import and Export ActFederal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act
Federal Alcohol Administration

These sanctions can include probation, fines, driver's license suspension, and/or incarceration. Future revisions, amendments, or additions to these or other applicable codes are incorporated into this policy by this reference.

Health Risks

Physical or psychological damage may occur when the following substances are abused. Here are some of the health risks related to each substance.

Alcohol. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses impair judgment and coordination, and increase the incidence of aggressive behavior. Very high doses can cause respiratory depression and death. Alcohol intoxication is equivalent to a drug overdose. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, the effects of alcohol are multiplied. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to change in tolerance and dependence. Cessation of alcohol intake can produce withdrawal symptoms including tremors, hallucinations, convulsions, and death. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. Women who drink even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. Children of alcoholic parents have a 40 percent greater risk of developing alcoholism than those whose parents are not alcoholic.

Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids. Steroid users can experience serious cardiovascular, liver, central nervous system, gastrointestinal, and reproductive disorders. In males, use can result in testicular atrophy, sterility, impotence, and arrested growth. Irreversible masculinization and sterility can result when woman use steroids. Psychological impairment includes mood swings, depression, and very aggressive behavior.

Depressants. The use of depressants can result in a change in tolerance and physical, as well as psychological dependency. The combining of several depressants (e.g. valium and alcohol) will potentiate the depressant effects, multiplying the health hazards. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, vomiting, acute psychotic episodes, seizures, and death.

Hallucinogens. Phencyclidine (PCP). Large doses of PCP may result in a convulsive seizure, coma, and death. Mood disorders occur and the user may become violent, irrational, and potentially harmful to self and others. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause sensations and feelings to change rapidly. The user may experience panic, confusion, anxiety, depersonalization, and loss of control. While relatively rare, flashbacks are the spontaneous reappearance of the drug experience after use has ceased may occur.

Narcotics. Tolerance, especially at the euphoric effect of narcotics, and physical dependence, develop rapidly. In order to avoid the abstinence syndrome, the addict becomes preoccupied with acquiring the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, however, they are seldom life threatening.

Stimulants. High doses of stimulants result in intense personality disturbances including visual and auditory hallucination, delusions, and paranoia. Tolerance develops rapidly. Cross tolerance does develop among stimulant drugs (e.g. methamphetamine and cocaine). The use of cocaine can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Stimulants are addictive, and while withdrawal from stimulants is less dangerous than with depressants, depression can make a person vulnerable to suicide.

Cannabis. The mood altering effects of marijuana are the result of the chemical delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is fat soluble and can remain in the body up to three weeks after smoking one marijuana cigarette. Consequently, even the occasional user can be detected through urinalysis. Research indicates that regular use may have long term effects on the user's brain, heart and reproductive organs. The numerous carcinogenic chemicals found in marijuana make it particularly harmful to the lungs. Loss of memory, lack of motivation, and diminished attention span are some of the effects of regular marijuana use. Long-term use may result in psychological dependence and change in tolerance.

Substance Abuse Resources

Resource information (booklets, brochures, pamphlets, etc.) regarding health and safety concerns from substance abuse, and information regarding the availability of, and/or referral to, community-based substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation services are available through a variety of university and community-based services including:

Contact any of the resources listed above for referral. Your anonymity will be respected.


This document will be distributed annually to each Ohio University student and reviewed biannually to assess its effectiveness, implement needed changes and insure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

The full Biennial Review of the University’s Alcohol and Other Drug Program 2023 available upon request. For more information, contact Health Promotion, 339 Baker University Center, 740-593-4742.