Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs


REVISED SEPTEMBER 2015

The abuse of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs by members of the University of Georgia community are incompatible with the goals of the institution. In order to further the University’s commitment to provide a healthy and productive educational environment, and in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, the University has established the following policy on alcohol and other drugs.

Alcoholic Beverages and Illegal Drug Use

It is unlawful to sell, furnish or provide alcohol to a person under the age of 21. The possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 years of age is illegal. UGA Police strictly enforce such laws. Violators are subject to criminal prosecution, disciplinary action, fine and imprisonment.

The possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of any controlled substance is illegal under both state and federal laws on the University campus. UGA Police strictly enforces such laws. Violators are subject to criminal prosecution, disciplinary action, fine and imprisonment.

Substance Abuse Education

The University Health Center’s Health Promotion Department offers UGA students prevention, early intervention and support services through The Fontaine Center to address alcohol and other drug abuse. The courts in Athens-Clarke County also offer an educational and treatment program known as Drug Court for felony drug and repeat DUI offenders. The program is a joint effort between the Superior Court of Athens-Clarke County, the Solicitor General, Local Law Enforcement, Bar Association including the Public Defender’s Office, Probation Office, Court Program Coordinator, and licensed substance abuse treatment professionals to offer alternatives to incarceration for drug and alcohol offenders. The program consists of individual counseling, group therapy, education, monitoring and regular drug testing.

Student Conduct

The University of Georgia’s student conduct regulations prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and other drugs by students and student organizations. The regulations also prohibit other alcohol- and drug-related misconduct. All students under the age of 21 are prohibited from the possession and consumption of alcohol. All students are prohibited from use and possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances. Sanctions for violations of these student conduct regulations may include alcohol and/or other drug (AOD) education, probation, community service, suspension, and/or expulsion.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has given colleges/universities the option to notify parents/ guardians about specific types of information from a student's conduct record.

The Office of Student Conduct will notify parents/guardians the first time and any subsequent time a student is found to have violated Code of Conduct policies on the use or possession of alcohol or other drugs when he/she is under the age of 21.

UGA Responsible Action Protocol

Students are encouraged to make responsible decisions in life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/ or other drug abuse and to seek medical attention for someone who is in danger because of intoxication. Students should alert University officials, UGA Police or Athens-Clarke County police, or professional medical personnel when they or their friends are in danger. A student who calls for or seeks emergency assistance on behalf of a student experiencing an alcohol or other drug related emergency, including themselves, as well as the student for whom emergency assistance is requested, may not be subject to mandatory alcohol and other drug sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct.

For more information about the purpose, scope, requirements and limitations of the Protocol,
see http://www.conduct.uga.edu/content_page/responsible-action-protocol-content-page.

Definitions Relating to Alcohol and Other Drug Violations

Possession of alcohol-or drugs refers, but is not limited, to holding, no matter the duration, alcohol or illegal drugs/ controlled substances in hand or, having them in one’s clothing, purse/book bag (or similar case), automobile, residence, or other personal belonging. Consumption of alcohol refers to the act of drinking or ingesting any amount of an alcoholic beverage. Use of drugs refers to the act of ingesting, inhaling, drinking, eating, and/or any other method of introducing an illegal drug or controlled substance into one’s body. Distribution of drugs refers to the sharing of illegal drugs/controlled substances with or giving them to others. Sale of drugs refers to the exchange of illegal drugs/ controlled substances for money or other forms of compensation (sale). Facilitating the possession/use of alcohol or drugs refers to the act of allowing others to possess, consume, or use alcohol or illegal drugs/controlled substances in one’s residence or automobile. A Level I violation is defined as possession, use, or facilitating the possession/use of alcohol. A Level II violation includes, but is not limited to, any violation involving the operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or use of drugs, acts of violence, destruction of property, or disorderly conduct while using alcohol or drugs; or intoxication level that requires medical treatment or results in medical personnel being called, even if treatment is refused; and any drug related violation. All students found in violation of Alcohol and Other Drug related misconduct through the University's conduct process will receive sanctions as outlined below.

First Violation Sanctions for Individual Students

These minimum sanctions will be imposed for all first violations listed below:

First violation for possession (not consumption) of alcohol, or facilitating the possession (not consumption) of alcohol by others: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education program and probation for six (6) months from the date of resolution.

First violation for consumption, use, or distribution of alcohol, facilitating the use of alcohol by others, or disruptive or disorderly conduct caused by the influence of alcohol: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education program and probation for twelve (12) months from the date of resolution.

First violation for illegal use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs/controlled substances: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education program and probation for twelve (12) months from the date of resolution.

First violation for sale of illegal drugs or controlled substances: Suspension from the institution.

Subsequent Violation Sanctions for Individual Students

Sanctions will likely include at least ONE of the following:

Subsequent violations while on probation: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education program, additional probation, community service hours, suspension from the institution.

*Additional sanctions may be determined by the level of the violation (I or II), circumstances of the case and the student’s prior record, including conditions of probation from any prior record.

Subsequent Violation Sanctions Involving Motor Vehicle Operation

Any subsequent violation, while on probation for a prior alcohol/drug violation, involving operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or use of drugs: Suspension from the institution.

Any second violation, regardless of probation status, involving operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or use of drugs when a prior violation also involved operation of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or using drugs: Suspension from the institution.

Violations after Suspension

Sanctions will likely include at least ONE of the following:

Any alcohol or drug related violation after suspension: Suspension from the institution, probation, appropriate AOD program, expulsion from the institution.

*Additional sanctions may be determined by the level of the violation (I or II), circumstances of the case, and the student’s prior record, including the conditions of probation from any prior record.

Two or More Violations (separate incidents) while Not on Probation

In cases where students are referred to the Office of Student Conduct for an additional alcohol/drug related violation that occurs before the resolution of any prior alcohol/drug related violation or pending case – sanctions will be determined by the conduct officer or hearing panel but should be no less than those outlined under the heading subsequent violation sanction based on type of violation.

Additional Sanctions

The findings of fact, any particular circumstances, and prior record of the student will be factors considered when determining other appropriate sanctions that may be imposed.

Possible Ramifications of Suspension

Students who are suspended from the University for any length of time should be aware that this action may have an impact on the following:

  • Tuition, Residence Hall costs and fees (suspension does not forgive financial obligations)
  • Student Financial Aid including HOPE Scholarship
  • Athletic participation and eligibility
  • Health insurance (contact your personal health care provider)
  • University Housing
  • Meal Plan
  • Use of University resources and access to University facilities
  • Immigration status for international students
  • Status and benefits of veterans and dependents of veterans
  • Internships, assistantships, and study abroad
  • Class Withdrawal

This is not an exhaustive list.

Employee Misconduct

Employee misconduct related to alcohol or other drug abuse will not be tolerated. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, sale, use, or possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug by employees of the University of Georgia is prohibited by federal and state law, as well as Board of Regents policy. Violation of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary sanctions, including but not limited to dismissal, demotion or suspension of employment and/or referral to the appropriate state agency for legal prosecution.

Any University employee who is convicted for the first time, under the laws of any state or the United States, of any criminal offense involving the manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug shall notify the Office of Legal Affairs (706-542-0006) of such conviction no later than 24 hours after the conviction. Any such employee shall be subject to, at a minimum, suspension from his or her employment for a period of not less than two months, or other disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal of employment. The employee may appeal the suspension or dismissal under procedures set forth in the University of Georgia Grievance and Disciplinary Review Policy. In the case of a suspension, such employee shall be required as a condition of completion of suspension to complete a drug treatment and education program approved by the President of the University. Upon a second conviction, such employee must be terminated and made ineligible for any state employment for a period of five (5) years.

If, prior to an arrest for an offense involving a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug, an employee notifies his or her immediate supervisor that he or she illegally uses a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug and is receiving or agrees to receive treatment under a drug abuse treatment and education program approved by the President of the University, the employee shall be entitled to maintain employment for up to one (1) year as long as the employee follows the treatment plan. During this period, the employee shall not be separated from his or her employment solely on the basis of the employee’s drug dependence, but the employee’s work activities may be restructured if practicable to protect persons or property. In addition, this policy does not prohibit the University from taking appropriate disciplinary action for violations of the conduct policy. An employee retained in accordance with the provisions of this policy will be subject to return-to-work and random selection for controlled substance testing for no less than one (1) year. In addition, the employee may be tested “for cause” if testing falls within the treatment center’s contract time period and testing is arranged by the treatment center. No statement made by an employee to a supervisor or other person in order to comply with this policy shall be admissible in any civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding as evidence against the employee. Rights granted by this policy shall be available to an employee only once during a five (5) year period and shall not apply to any employee who has refused to be tested or who has tested positive for a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug.

In addition to criminal sanctions described below, employees convicted of drug-related offenses are subject to civil penalties. Such penalties may include suspension or revocation of professional and occupational licenses, restriction from public employment for up to five years, denial of retirement benefits, and denial of state-sponsored loans and mortgages. Workers’ compensation benefits will also be denied in certain instances where alcohol or other drugs are a cause of injury.

Any employee who serves or provides alcoholic beverages in his or her official capacity is subject to the Guidelines Concerning University Events Where Alcoholic Beverages are Served or Provided, which include prohibiting the furnishing of alcohol to persons under age. These guidelines should be reviewed by all employees hosting and/or working at any event where alcohol will be served.

Criminal Sanctions

Under Georgia and federal law, it is a crime to possess, manufacture, sell, or distribute illegal drugs. To see a summary of Georgia state drug laws and penalties, go to http://sos.ga.gov/cgi-bin/PLBLaws.asp?Board=03. To learn more about Federal drug trafficking penalties, go to www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ftp3.shtml.

Federal sanctions for illegal possession of drugs include imprisonment up to 1 year and/or a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction; imprisonment for 15 days-2 years and a minimum fine of $2,500 for a second drug conviction; and imprisonment for 90 days-3 years and a minimum fine of $5,000 for a third or subsequent drug conviction. For possession of a mixture or substance which contains a cocaine base, federal sanctions include 5-20 years in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, for a first conviction if the mixture or substance exceeds 5 grams, for a second conviction if the mixture or substance exceeds 3 grams, and for a third or subsequent conviction if the mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram. Additional possible penalties for the illegal possession of drugs are forfeiture of real or personal property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if the offense is punishable by more than 1 year imprisonment; forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used, or intended for use, to transport or conceal drugs; civil fine up to $10,000 per violation; denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses for up to 1 year for a first and up to 5 years for a second or subsequent offense; successful completion of a drug treatment program; community service; and ineligibility to receive or purchase a fire-arm.

Georgia law prohibits the purchase or possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21, or the furnishing of alcohol to such a person. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs also is illegal. It is against Georgia law, under certain circumstances, to walk or be upon a roadway while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The punishment for these offenses may include imprisonment, fines, mandatory treatment and education programs, community service, and mandatory loss of one’s driver’s license.