Drug-Free School and Workplace Policy

The following Colgate University policy is designed to help create a workplace and campus environment that discourages the unauthorized or illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol by faculty and staff and to support the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.  Listed below is information that is important for each faculty and staff member to read and understand regarding the legal penalties and the health risks that are associated with alcohol and drug abuse.

The following policy applies to all Colgate employees, including full and part-time, temporary, student employees and interns, as well as volunteers. This policy will be distributed annually to all employees, and agreeing to comply with this policy is a condition of employment.

Colgate University does not permit or condone the unlawful possession, use, consumption, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs and/or alcohol by employees on its property or as part of any of its activities.  The University expects that all members of the Colgate community who serve or consume alcoholic beverages will do so in a responsible, lawful, and non-abusive manner.  The University also expects all members of the Colgate community to comply with the laws of New York State as well as local statutes and ordinances pertaining to alcohol.  Employees are prohibited from working, or operating any Colgate vehicle or equipment, while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

In addition, no passenger in a Colgate vehicle may consume alcoholic beverages or use controlled substances while in the vehicle.  Employees using medication are also prohibited from operating Colgate vehicles/equipment at any time when their ability to do so might be impaired by the medication.  Further, the possession, use, consumption, sale or distribution of alcohol during working hours is prohibited except on occasions when the consumption of alcoholic beverages in a social setting is authorized and sponsored by the University.  The University reserves the right to prohibit consumption of alcohol in certain facilities and to limit the way alcohol is served at any given event.

Employees who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, consistent with federal, state and local law, which may include counseling, mandatory participation in a rehabilitation program, unpaid suspension, loss of the privilege of operating a Colgate vehicle, and/or termination of employment and referral for prosecution.

Legal Prohibitions

All employees are subject to the laws of New York State, including those pertaining to the possession, use, and sale of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs referred to as “controlled substances.”  Laws and penalties regarding unlawful possession, use, consumption, sale or distribution of illegal drugs and/or alcohol differ greatly from state to state (and country to country), and what may be legal in one state or country may not necessarily be legal in New York State.  The following is a brief summary of these statutes and applicable penalties for violation as they exist at this time:

I. Alcohol


A number of New York State statutes and local ordinances have been enacted to control the purchase, possession, consumption, and distribution of alcoholic beverages.  All alcoholic beverages (beer and ale, wine, and liquor) are included under the provisions.  

To legally purchase, possess, and consume an alcoholic beverage in the State of New York, one must be 21 years of age or older.

The use of “fake I.D.” to purchase alcohol is illegal, and if a person uses an altered New York State driver's license or a license belonging to someone else as evidence of age, the law calls for suspension of the person's actual license to drive a motor vehicle for up to one year, up to $1,000 in fines, or up to 90 hours of community service, as well as possible mandatory participation in an alcohol awareness program. Multiple offenses may also lead to the suspension of a person’s driver’s license until age 21 and mandatory evaluation for alcoholism. 


Persons under age 21 are prohibited from possessing alcoholic beverages if they intend to consume them.  If a person under 21 is found guilty of possession of alcoholic beverages, which they intend to consume, the person may be fined, and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program, and/or community service of up to 30 hours. 

Purchase & Service:

If a person purchases alcoholic beverages and serves them to a person who is under 21 years, the purchaser/server may be charged with “Unlawfully Dealing with a Child.” This crime is a misdemeanor, and a conviction under it can result in fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record, or probation of up to three years.

Driving While Intoxicated and Driving With Ability Impaired:

Attempting to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or other drugs is an extremely dangerous practice, which may result in injury or death.  In addition, persons who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or other drugs are subject to arrest and conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving With Ability Impaired (DWAI).  A person operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more can be arrested and convicted of Driving While Intoxicated, a misdemeanor under New York State's Vehicle and Traffic Law.  Sanctions include revocation of driving privileges for at least six months and a fine of up to $1,000 and/or face imprisonment for one year.

Persons operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.05% - 0.07% are subject to arrest and conviction for DWAI. Persons found guilty of DWAI as a first offense may be fined $500 and have their licenses suspended for three months and/or face imprisonment of up to 15 days. Persons operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs other than alcoholic beverages are subject to arrest for DWAI by Drugs, a misdemeanor.  A person found guilty of this offense will have their license revoked for six months, be fined $1,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to one year. 

A person under the age of 21 operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% to 0.07% can be arrested under New York State's Zero Tolerance Law.  On a first offense, driving privileges will be lost for six months, on a second offense, the right to drive is lost for one year or until the age of 21, whichever is longer.

II. Marijuana

Possession of marijuana is prohibited as a controlled substance under Federal law.

Although New York State has legalized the use of marijuana, Colgate University is subject to federal laws that continue to prohibit the possession, use or distribution of marijuana for any reason and for any purpose.  Therefore, a person may not use, possess or distribute marijuana on campus or as part of any of its activities for any reason or under any circumstances.

III. Controlled Substances

The Penal Law defines those drugs considered “Controlled Substances” to include narcotic drugs, narcotic preparations, hallucinogens (LSD, “hallucinogenic mushrooms,” etc.), stimulants, depressants, and concentrated forms of cannabis.  Individual statutes deal with the criminal possession or sale of these substances and are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the specific substance, the amount of the substance in question, or the circumstances surrounding the possession or sale of the substance.  Possession or sale (or possession with intent to sell) of even a small amount of some substances is considered a felonious offense and may result in a lengthy jail sentence, including life imprisonment.

As previously stated, employees are prohibited from working or operating Colgate vehicles/equipment while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action including termination of employment.

Health Risks

(Source: U.S. Department of Education)


Alcohol consumption causes a number of changes in behavior.  Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a vehicle or operate machinery safely.  Low to moderate doses of alcohol can increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spousal and child abuse.  Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information.  Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death.  Continued use of alcohol can lead to dependence.  Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions.  Long-term side effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.  In addition, expectant mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome.  These infants may suffer from intellectual disabilities and other irreversible physical abnormalities.  In addition, research has indicated that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.

Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish)

All forms of cannabis have negative physical and mental effects.  Several regularly observed physical effects of cannabis are a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite.

Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.  Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult.  Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis.  Immediate physical effects include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate.

Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke is alleged to contain more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke. Long-term users of marijuana may develop psychological dependence.


The immediate negative effects of inhalants include: nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, and loss of appetite.  Solvents and aerosol sprays also decrease the heart and respiratory rates and impair judgment.  Amyl and butyl nitrate cause rapid pulse, headaches, and involuntary passing of urine and feces.  Long-term use may result in hepatitis or brain damage. Deeply inhaling the vapors, or using large amounts over a short time, may result in disorientation, violent behavior, unconsciousness, or death.  High concentrations of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that breathing stops.  Long-term use can cause weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle fatigue.  Repeated sniffing of concentrated vapors over time can permanently damage the nervous system.

Cocaine or Crack Cocaine

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system.  Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Crack cocaine, or freebase rock cocaine, is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within ten seconds.  The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizure.  The use of cocaine can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.


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.  Extremely high doses 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 that can result in stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.   Persons who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.


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 gait, 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, increasing the risks.

Regular use of depressants over time can result in physical and psychological addiction.  People who suddenly stop taking large doses can experience withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, tremors, delirium, convulsions, and death.  Babies born to mothers who abuse depressants may also be physically dependent on the drugs and show withdrawal symptoms shortly after they are born.  Birth defects and behavioral problems also may result.


Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check.  Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries.  The effects of PCP vary: time and body movement are slowed down, muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled, speech is blocked and incoherent.  In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations.  Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, as well as heart and lung failure.

Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations.  The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors.  The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. 


Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching.  An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.

Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly and dependence is likely.  The use of contaminated syringes may result in disease such as AIDS, endocarditis, and hepatitis.  Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.  

Designer Drugs

Illegal drugs are defined in the terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs.  These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. The narcotic analogs can cause symptoms such as uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage.  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.

Reporting Requirements

In addition to the policies and information stated above, employees are required to report to Colgate University (specifically the head of Human Resources) any conviction under a criminal drug statute for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after the conviction.  An employee so convicted is subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include counseling, mandatory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program, suspension from employment, and/or termination of employment.

If the reporting employee works directly or indirectly on a federal grant or contract the head of Human Resources will notify the Office of Accounting & Control and the Corporate Foundations & Government office, so that the appropriate granting or contracting agency can be notified in a timely manner, but not more than ten days after receiving notice of an employee's criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace.


The University will conduct a biennial review of this policy and its programs to determine the effectiveness in meeting the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and to ensure that the disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

Getting Help

The University encourages employees to seek assistance if they find they have drug or alcohol related questions or problems. Confidential assistance is available from a variety of sources:


Chenango County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services

Bridges of Madison County

AA & Al-Anon
For more information regarding AA & Al-Anon call the Shaw Wellness Institute.

Family Services Association