Drugs and Alcohol
National American University desires to have its facilities free of alcohol and illicit drugs and to operate all of its academic and co-curricular programs accordingly. The possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on all university property, whether owned or leased. The possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited at all student-attended, university-sponsored functions, regardless of location.
The university prohibits the unlawful possession, distribution, or use of illegal drugs and/or controlled substances on any property leased or owned by the university or in any program or activity sponsored by the university in any location.
Students who violate the prohibition against illegal drugs and alcohol are subject to discipline. Sanctions will reflect the particular violation and its severity. Depending on the circumstances of the violation, disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to: warning, fine, referral to chemical health treatment or support resources, suspension, or expulsion. Referral for criminal prosecution may occur where appropriate.
Students must be aware that there are significant criminal penalties, under state and federal law, for the unlawful possession or distribution of alcohol and illegal drugs. Penalties include:
- Consumption of alcohol by a minor: up to a $700 fine/up to 90 days in jail;
- Illegal sale of alcohol: up to a $3,000 fine/up to 1 year in jail;
- Possession of a small amount of marijuana: up to a $700 fine/up to 90 days in jail;
- Sale or possession of controlled substances such as cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana: up to a $1,000,000 fine/up to 30 years in jail.
Students who are concerned about specific circumstances should consult applicable local, state, and federal laws and/or seek legal counsel.
Alcohol is a widely abused drug on college campuses across the United States. Liquor, beer and wine contain ethyl alcohol which acts on the central nervous system as a depressant. Abuse can cause intoxication, impaired motor skills, unconsciousness and death. Alcohol is chemically addictive and can cause brain cell damage, liver, pancreas and kidney damage; heart problems, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and birth defects, such as fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol is one of the most socially problematic drugs in this country. Many lives can be destroyed through its abuse. Driving while intoxicated has been a serious problem and issues especially relevant to college campuses within the last decade. Alcohol is frequently associated with instances of rape, violence, and many types of accidents.
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in this country; however, many fail to recognize its many harmful effects. Use of marijuana is detrimental to one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Marijuana smoke is even more toxic and carcinogenic than cigarette smoke, causing similar and more serious respiratory problems. Habitual use weakens the immune system, increasing the chance of sickness. Evidence from studies shows that marijuana reduces one’s ability to perform tasks requiring concentration, impairs short-term memory and motor skills and affects a noticeable decrease in motivation. Although claimed to be non-addictive, marijuana is a habit-forming substance that can be as hard to quit as any chemically-addictive drug. In other words, marijuana is a social drug that has the potential to become the center of one’s life. The potency of this drug has increased 275% in the past three decades, giving even more weight to its negative effects. Marijuana use impedes one’s participation with the academic community, damaging the intellectual atmosphere of the university.
Hallucinogenic drugs distort the perception of reality. Common hallucinogens include LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline and peyote. An individual’s reaction to these drugs is completely unpredictable, and "bad trips," which can cause permanent personality changes, are common. Under the influence of hallucinogens, the senses of direction, distance and time become disoriented. These drugs can produce unpredictable, erratic and violent behavior in users that sometimes leads to serious injuries and death.
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is extremely addictive. Derived from coca leaves, it produces euphoria, hallucinations and a temporary increase in physical strength. Common symptoms include irritability, runny nose, increased temperature and blood pressure and chronic sinus/nasal problems. More serious side effects include severe depression, seizures, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest and strokes. Cocaine, which is used as a social drug, initially produces an intense physical stimulus, but this quickly disappears. The user typically becomes addicted after the first use. Prolonged use can cause nervous-system damage, delusions, physical deterioration, weight loss and a stronger addiction.
Heroin, a highly addictive opiate, causes physical and psychological problems such as shallow breathing, nausea, panic, insomnia and a need for increasingly higher doses of the drug to get the same effect. Attempts to stop using the drug lead to painful physical withdrawal symptoms. Heroin is primarily taken by injection, often with grave consequences. Uncertain dosage levels (due to differences in purity), unsterile equipment, contamination with cutting agents, or heroin use in combination with such other drugs as alcohol or cocaine can cause serious health problems such as serum hepatitis, skin abscesses, inflammation of the veins and cardiac disease (sub acute bacterial endocarditis). Of all illegal drugs, heroin is responsible for the most deaths. Needle sharing by IV drug users is a leading cause of new AIDS cases. Heroin used during pregnancy is associated with stillbirths and miscarriages. Symptoms of heroin overdose include shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, clammy skin, convulsions and coma.
- Designer Drugs
Designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, among countless others, are chemically manufactured substances. Produced in underground labs, these are often pre-existing drugs that are modified in order to produce a more potent effect. Since these drugs are usually mixtures of several compounds, their toxicity is much higher, and the chance for negative side-effects or overdose increases. Because designer drugs are often used in a social atmosphere, there exists a high chance for psychological dependence. Many of these synthesized drugs are also chemically addictive.
PCP, a hallucinogenic drug used as an anesthetic for animals, induces a profound departure from reality, which may leave the user capable of bizarre behavior and severe disorientation. PCP-induced effects may lead to serious injuries or death to the user while under the influence of the drug. PCP often produces feelings of mental depression, and among regular users disturbs memory, perception functions, concentration and judgment. Chronic use may lead to permanent changes in cognitive ability (thinking), memory and fine motor function.
Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation
- Drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation/reentry programs for employees and students are available from a variety of sources. Anyone who recognizes a personal drug or alcohol problem, is concerned about a student or co-worker, or may wish to know more about drug and alcohol abuse may contact the human resources department.
- Campus and community resources may be found on MyNAU or by contacting a campus executive officer or the human resources department.
Resources for substance abuse include:
- Alcohol/Drug Helpline • 1-800-662-HELP
Updated September 2014