Letter to Employees on Drug Policy

August 10, 2006

Dear Valdosta State University Employee,

The Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations (DFSCR), Part 86, requires that all Institutions of Higher Learning receiving federal funds certify they are in compliance with established standards of conduct and have a written policy addressing the issues of unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. The policy must also outline legal sanctions, health risks, available substance abuse programs, and disciplinary actions each student or employee is subject to. A copy of these standards must be distributed to each student and employee on an annual basis. Compliance with the DFSCR is documented in our Biennial Review and is subject to audit every two years.

Please take a few moments to review these policies and available resources. Questions or concerns regarding personal use of alcohol and/or drugs should be directed to the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Education (229) 259-5111. Human resource related questions should be forwarded to Human Resources and Employee Development (229) 333-5709.

Standards of Conduct

Faculty, staff members, and student employees of Valdosta State University are expected to adhere to the policies of the institution, observe the basic rules of good conduct, and to meet appropriate standards of performance.” (excerpt from the Drug Free Work Place Policy letter signed by President Ronald M. Zaccari, dated March 1, 2002) “As an employee of Valdosta State University, you are hereby advised that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol on the college campus is prohibited and violations of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary action, to include suspension or termination.” (excerpt from the New Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees letter signed by President Ronald M. Zaccari, undated)

Legal Sanctions

Federal legal sanctions and guidelines are addressed in Title 21, United States Code, Chapter 13, Subchapter 1, Part D, Sections 841 – 864. Penalties vary widely depending upon the substance, quantity possessed, and previous conviction history. Potential sentences range from loss of federal benefits, forfeiture of property, imprisonment, and fines.

The Official Code of Georgia, Sections 16-13-1, 16-13-2, 16-13-30, 16-13-31, and 16-13-32.6, outline state penalties for manufacturing, possessing, and distributing controlled substances. Sentences range from probation for misdemeanor possession of marijuana to a mandatory minimum term of 25 years and a fine of $1,000,000 for substantial quantities of cocaine.

Health Risks

The abuse of alcohol and other drugs can impair an individual’s ability to perform at their highest level academically or in the workplace.  Short and long term heath issues may also result from misuse.  Following is a brief synopsis of the physical hazards associated with substances commonly used/abused in our society:

Substance

Physical Effect

Short Term/Moderate Use

Long Term/Heavy Use

Alcohol

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant 

Loss of inhibition, judgment, reasoning
Loss of coordination
Unconsciousness
Blackouts 

Dependence
Tolerances
Cirrhosis
Death 

Sedatives

CNS Depressant

Reduced coordination
Loss of body control
Passing Out
Stupor
Depression 

Dependence
Amnesia
Personality changes
Confusion 

Stimulants

CNS Stimulant 

Increased blood pressure
Loss of appetite
Restlessness
Insomnia

Paranoia
Convulsions
Psychosis 

Opiates

CNS Depressant

Hallucinations
Disruption of menstrual cycle
Lowered blood pressure
Constipation

Coma
Dependence
Convulsions
Depressed sex drive
Death 

Psychedelics

Hallucinations

Alteration of mental process
Distorted perceptions
Confusion
Vomiting

Anxiety
Stupor
Panic
Psychosis 

Marijuana

Sedation/Euphoria

Distorted perception
Altered mental process
Increased heart rate
Reduced short term memory 

Anxiety
Panic
Dependence 

 

Substance Abuse Programs  

Valdosta State University employs a full-time coordinator through the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Education to address substance abuse issues for students and employees.  Available resources include assessment, education, short term counseling, and referral.  The AOD coordinator, as well as Peer Education students, is available to address classes, student organizations, Resident Hall functions, and other campus and community events.  Organizations desiring prevention/awareness programs should call (229) 259-5111.  Other campus resources dealing with substance abuse issues include the Counseling Center, Health Services, Public Safety, Human Resources, and Judicial Affairs.  All services offered by VSU are free of charge.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Students and employees unable or unwilling to comply with  established standards risk the following sanctions being imposed by Valdosta State University:

Students:  In addition to applicable legal consequences, students may face forfeiture of academic credit, financial aid eligibility, temporary or permanent suspension, and withdrawal of organizational recognition by the institution.  Counseling and education may also be mandated.  Further information regarding violations and sanctions may be reviewed in the Student Handbook Student Code of Conduct and the Judicial Affairs web-site (www.valdosta.edu/judicial/).    

 

Employees: In addition to applicable legal consequences, discipline may include counseling, reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal.  Employees with concern regarding their use of substances are encouraged to seek assistance prior to being identified via unacceptable legal or professional behavior.  Additional information may be found in the Classified Employee Handbook and Faculty Handbook.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter,

Human Resources and Employee Development and the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Education