Drug-Free Campus Policy

*This policy is currently under review.

The University of New Orleans prohibits the abuse of drugs, including alcohol. It is unlawful to possess, use, or distribute illicit drugs on UNO property or at any University ­sponsored event, whether or not the event occurs on campus. In addition, UNO prohibits the use of alcohol on campus, except in the designated areas described in this manual. 

The University provides counseling, referral services and other assistance to students, faculty and staff who seek help with substance abuse problems. 

Alcohol and drugs can seriously damage physical and mental health, as well as jeopardize personal and public safety. For these reasons, violators of the UNO drug policy will face judicial action, as outlined in the University of New Orleans Judicial Code. Penalties for students who are substance abusers include suspension or expulsion. Penalties for faculty and staff members include termination of employment, as outlined in the Drug­Free Workplace Policy, which is found in AP 5.3. 

As with all illegal activities, substance abuse can result in criminal prosecution as well, under state and federal laws, including section 22 of the Drug­Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 (Public Law 101­226). This brochure outlines some of the basic information you may need to understand the health risks and legal risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse. It also explains some aspects of the UNO drug policy, the various penalties that apply to substance abusers, and where to go for help. Phone or visit Student Health Service (UC 244) if you have any further questions about these drugs and their effects on you, your family or your friends. 

Health Risks

Alcohol is the most widely used drug and most widely abused drug in the United States. Problem drinkers and alcoholics suffer from extremely high rates of disease and death, and they kill large numbers of their fellow citizens each year in automobile accidents and in violent acts. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, impairing reflex skills for activities such as driving. Low doses may relax a person. Increasing doses impair judgment and produce emotional instability. The seriousness of the result depends upon the metabolism of the drinker as well as the amount consumed. Chronic use of alcohol causes irreversible damage to body tissues, such as the brain and liver, nutritional deficiencies and memory problems. Scientific studies have linked alcoholism with several kinds of cancer and also with cirrhosis of the liver. There is also a high risk of addiction, especially for people with a family history of alcoholism. Alcohol works by removing oxygen from the bloodstream. This in turn kills brain cells (even in relatively moderate doses), and this is why high doses produce coma and death. It is extremely important that pregnant women avoid using alcohol, because the oxygen deprivation occasioned by alcohol use affects the developing brain of the baby and can produce mental retardation and other abnormalities, a condition known medically as "fetal alcohol syndrome."

Cocaine and its derivative, crack, have become an increasing source of addiction, hospital emergencies, and death. These drugs act as an anesthetic and a stimulant for the central nervous system. They cause increased heart and respiration rates, as well as elevated blood pressure. An overdose can cause heart­rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks, and rapid death.

Cocaine and crack are highly addictive. Withdrawal causes intense cravings. When used during pregnancy, they can cause miscarriage, malformation, retardation, low birth weight, and withdrawal syndrome in the newborn. In adolescents and adults, chronic use often leads to deterioration of nasal tissues, chronic lung disease, heart problems, paranoia and psychosis. People who use these drugs may need help and support to stop. 

Marijuana and hashish have been widely used in the United States, frequently with little regard for the legal penalties imposed for their use. Using marijuana can cause various reactions, ranging from euphoria to depression and hallucinations. Only recently have medical studies demonstrated the physical and psychological consequences of long­term use of marijuana. These include low sperm counts, impaired immune system functioning, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive lung disease, impaired memory, and motivational syndrome. There is clear evidence that marijuana is a psychologically addictive drug. 

Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, ecstasy, mushrooms, etc.) are very unpredictable substances. They cause hallucinations and abnormal sensory feelings involving colors, lights, and sounds, which are influenced by the environment in which the user takes the drug. After use, frightening flashbacks can occur, and during use, impaired mental function can cause accidents involving injury or death. Users can experience panic attacks ("bad trips") and these trips can trigger long­term psychotic behavior. Psychological dependence may also develop. Treatment consists of reassurance counseling and certain medications. 

Narcotics like heroin, codeine, morphine, demerol, and talwin, are highly addictive drugs. They act on the central nervous system to reduce sensitivity to pain. They produce a "rush" and then euphoria. Some of the risks are death from overdose, and AIDS and hepatitis (from sharing needles). Withdrawal is painful and dangerous. In a short period of time, users develop physical addictions that require feeding their habit every three to six hours to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Treatment can consist of nonaddicting medications to help users detoxify. 

Designer drugs are various kinds of street drugs that are developed in illegal laboratories. They can be similar to narcotics, stimulants or hallucinogens. They may cause neurological symptoms, like permanent Parkinsonism (a continual trembling) and death. Users never know quite what they are getting into with these drugs, and diagnosis and treatment can be very difficult, if not impossible. The consequences are unpredictable and can be permanent. 

Prescription depressants, like Valium and sleeping pills, can cause physical and psychological dependence with long­term use. Combined with alcohol they are the most common cause of accidental overdose and suicide. Fatigue, confusion, loss of coordination, and loss of motivation can be symptoms of abuse. When properly supervised by a physician, they can be safe medications, but withdrawal can be difficult and long lasting. 

Anabolic steroids are sometimes (and inadvisably) used by athletes and body builders. They are often distributed illegally, exposing users to legal penalties. It is possible for some athletes to put on extra muscle mass if they use anabolic steroids while training with weights, but the side effects and long­term consequences are extremely serious and far outweigh the short­term gains. Users can exhibit aggressive personality changes and may also develop acne, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, secondary male sexual characteristics, and risk for HIV and hepatitis, if injected. Consequences in later life can include sterility, early heart disease and liver cancer. 

Counseling Services Resources

UNO Counseling and Career Center counseling staff can play an important role in providing opportunities for students to discontinue their use of alcohol or illegal drugs. While the center does not offer substance abuse counseling, counseling staff provide free confidential evaluation for students who refer themselves, consultation and referral services for students needing extended evaluation and treatment services for substance abuse, and information about self­help community resources for alcohol and substance abuse.

Additional information is available on the Counseling and Career Center website

Student Health Services also initiates the formation of committees twice yearly to provide two annual campus­wide prevention programs, the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week and the National Collegiate Drug Awareness Week. These highly visible, educational events are well advertised on campus and in the local media. They are free for all students, faculty, and staff. Events include demonstrations, films, panel discussions and contests. Educational literature on drug and alcohol use is distributed throughout the campus. Other special programs are offered throughout the year. 

University Sanctions

Violations of the University drug policy by students, faculty or staff will result in disciplinary action. Depending on the nature of the offense, this can take the form of a written reprimand, suspension, demotion, reduction in pay, or termination of the person's association with UNO. Judicial actions taken against students will be imposed in accordance with the Judicial Code section of this Policy Manual. Violations by academic employees will be handled in accordance with the University Policy on Faculty Conduct section of the Faculty Handbook. Disciplinary actions taken against classified employees will be conducted in accordance with the State Civil Service Rules. Non­classified employees will be disciplined through their direct supervisor, director or dean. Other employees not listed above are subject to similar types of sanctions. 

Employee Risk Management

For Injuries Caused by Intoxication 

Employees injured while intoxicated will not be entitled to workman's compensation, unless the employee's intoxication resulted from activities which were in pursuit of the employer's interests or in which the employer procured the intoxicating substance and encouraged its use. 

The employer has the right to administer drug and alcohol testing or to require that the employee submit to such testing immediately following an accident. Under current Louisiana law, an employee's failure to submit to testing allows the employer to assume that the employee is intoxicated. 

Legal Sanctions

For Drugs 

It is unlawful in Louisiana to produce, manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess illegal drugs. The most common illegal drugs on college campuses are marijuana, opium derivatives, hallucinogens, depressants, cocaine, cocaine derivatives, and amphetamines.

The maximum penalty provided by Louisiana law for possession of hallucinogenic drugs, opium derivatives, and depressants is imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. An additional fine of up to $15,000 may also be imposed. 

The penalty for violating Louisiana laws concerning cocaine, cocaine derivatives, and amphetamines is not less than five years nor more than thirty years of imprisonment at hard labor, with a possible $15, 000 fine. 

The revised criminal code carries specific penalties for possession of marijuana. A first conviction warrants up to six months in prison and the possibility of a $5,000 fine. A second conviction earns up to five years' imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. A third conviction earns up to twenty years' imprisonment. Much more severe penalties exist for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute or for actual distribution: hard labor for up to forty years and fines as high as $500,000. 

For Alcohol 

It is unlawful in Louisiana for anyone under 21 years of age to purchase any alcoholic beverage. It is unlawful in Louisiana for anyone under 21 years of age to "publicly" possess any alcoholic beverage for any reason, in any place open to the public, including clubs that are de facto open to the public. Exceptions occur when the alcohol is possessed or consumed for the following reasons:

  • For established religious purposes 
  • For medical purposes when prescribed by a licensed authority 
  • When an 18­20 year old is accompanied by a parent, spouse or legal guardian at least 21 years of age in private residences, or private clubs or establishments
  • When lawfully employed by a licensed enterprise for the lawful sale, handling, transport or dispensing of alcoholic beverages. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Louisiana, and anyone with a blood alcohol level of. 10 or above will be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).

Every two years, the University of New Orleans will require the Student Health Services Office to reconvene its Drug Free Task Force to review its implementation of the Drug Free Schools policy on campus, to determine its effectiveness, to make changes and to ensure consistent enforcement of the judicial sanctions