Substance Abuse

Policies, Sanctions, and Laws

In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the following information is provided regarding University and campus policies prohibiting unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs or alcohol; University and campus sanctions regarding drug and alcohol violations by students or employees; federal, state, and local laws and penalties for drug and alcohol offenses; health effects of drug and alcohol abuse; and local resources providing assistance for drug and alcohol abuse (counseling, rehabilitation, or re-entry programs). 

University Policy and Sanctions

The University strives to maintain communities and workplaces free from the illegal use, possession, or distribution of alcohol and other drugs. The manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of alcohol and controlled substances by University students and employees on University property, at official University functions, or on University business is governed by law, University policy, and campus regulations. Students violating these laws and policies are subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal from the University, and may be referred for criminal prosecution or required to participate in appropriate treatment programs. Employees violating these laws and policies may be subject to corrective action, up to and including dismissal, under applicable University policies and labor contracts, and may be referred for criminal prosecution or required to participate in an Employee Support Program or appropriate treatment program. 

Loss of Financial Aid for Conviction Involving Possession/Sale of Illegal Drugs

A conviction under federal or state law for any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for any Title IV, HEA grant, loan, or work-study assistance (HEA Sec. 484(r)(1)); (20 U.S.C. 1091(r)(1)), if the conviction occurs during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV HEA program funds. 

Federal Laws and Sanctions

Under Federal law, it is a felony offense to sell or intend to sell, manufacture, or distribute DEA scheduled drugs or mixtures containing them (e.g. cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, LSD, PCP, and so-called “designer drugs”, as well as “counterfeits” purported to be such drugs), or to traffic in marijuana or hashish. Depending upon the quantity of drugs involved, penalties for first offenses range from 5 years to life (20 years to life if death or serious injury involved) and fines up to $10 million or more, and for second offenses from 10 years to life (life if death or serious injury involved) and fines up to $20 million.

It is important to note that illegal trafficking of over-the-counter or prescription drugs (including anabolic steroids) which are listed as DEA Schedules II–V are included in the above penalties and fines. Those convicted of possession or distribution of controlled substances can be barred from receiving benefits of federal programs, including student grants and loans, contracts, ability to conduct teaching and research using controlled substances, and professional and commercial licenses; may be subject to forfeiture of property used in or traceable to illegal controlled substance transactions; and, if non-citizens, subject to deportation. 

California Laws and Sanctions

California law prohibits furnishing and selling alcoholic beverages to underage (younger than 21) or obviously intoxicated individuals. Underage persons may not buy alcoholic beverages or possess them on campus, in public, or in places open to public view; the penalties for violations of these laws may include substantial fines and jail. Alcohol may not be sold without a license or permit. State law also prohibits driving a motor vehicle under the influence; drinking or possessing an open container of alcohol while driving; and operating a bicycle while intoxicated. The limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for underage individuals is .01 percent.  A BAC of .08 percent or higher for individuals 21 and older creates a presumption of intoxication, but they can be charged with lower blood alcohol levels.  Drunk driving penalties include jail or prison, fines of $1,000 or more, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and required drug/alcohol treatment programs. Refusing to submit to a test for blood alcohol can result in suspension of driver's license for up to 3 years. Sale or possession for sale of controlled substances such as cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, LSD, PCP, marijuana, and “designer drugs” is a felony with terms of 3 years or more; manufacture results in terms of 3 years or more; possession alone is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Sentences are enhanced for previously convicted felons, for distribution within 1,000 feet of a school or University or within 100 feet of a recreational facility, and for distribution to a pregnant woman or to someone under 18 by one over 18. Property used in drug transactions can be seized. 

Sacramento City and City of Davis Ordinances

Sacramento City ordinances and Davis municipal codes prohibit consumption of alcohol in public, possessing open containers of alcohol in public or at retail off-sale premises, and drinking in parks. City of Davis municipal codes also prohibit intoxicated persons from being in or around a vehicle in public, unless the vehicle is controlled or operated by a sober individual; and prohibit individuals and organizations from hosting or allowing a party, gathering, or event (defined as two or more persons assembled for a social occasion or activity) if underage persons are present and in possession of/consuming alcohol. Sanctions (probation, jail, fines) are imposed in accordance with California state law. 

Education, Prevention Programs, Assistance Services, and Resources

Campus programs, services, and resources include:

  • Health Education and Promotion (HEP) is focused on preventing and reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues in the student population; developing, managing and evaluating strategies to aid students in making informed decisions in these areas. This program is a lead partner in the Safe Party Initiative, a campus and community evidence-based strategy that aims to reduce problems related to college student drinking at parties in the Davis community. Student “party goers” and “party throwers” can visit the Safe Party website to find tips on how to reduce the risks of alcohol-related problems.
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Intervention Services (ATODIS) provides free and confidential individual assessment and intervention services for UC Davis students who can meet with a Safe Zone trained ATODIS professional. Services and referrals are provided in collaboration with Counseling Services, Student Health and Counseling Services’ medical staff, Neighborhood Court, or self-referrals. Free, 90-minute group sessions are also provided in a confidential and non-judgmental environment for students referred from the conduct system or students who self-refer. More information is available at ATODIS or by calling 530-752-6334. Smoking cessation services are also available to students free of charge. If the student meets with the ATODIS Coordinator they can receive one month of gum, patch, or lozenge nicotine replacement therapy for free. Replace prevention counseling is also available to students free of charge with no session limit. For more information call 530-752-6334.
  • UC Davis' Collegiate Recovery Group, Aggies for Recovery, meets weekly. Meeting information can be found at https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/recovery_resourcesThis group is open to any UC Davis undergraduate or graduate student who is choosing not to use any mind altering substances. This group is also open to students who are allies to people in recovery or who have family members struggling with addiction. This is not a 12-step meeting but a support group for students in recovery. Students can contact slake@ucdavis.edu for more information.
  • Counseling Services provides short-term counseling at no cost to UC Davis registered students and referrals to other providers and services; and provides online anonymous self-assessment and screening for alcohol and related issues. More information is available from the Counseling Services website or by calling 530-752-0871.
  • Academic & Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) offers confidential, cost free assessment, intervention, consultation and referral services to all UCD faculty, staff and their immediate families. More information is available at the ASAP website or by calling 530-752-2727 or 916-734-2727.

Community resources include Sacramento and Yolo County services and Twelve Step Programs:

Health Risks

Substance abuse can cause very serious health and behavioral problems, including short-and long-term effects upon both the body (physiological) and mind (psychological), as well as impairment of learning ability, memory, and performance. Chronic health problems may arise from long-term abuse, and acute, traumatic reactions may arise even from one-time or moderate use. In addition to the toxicity of specific drugs, mixing drugs can compound toxic effects.

Illegal, “counterfeit,” or “designer” drugs may be toxic, contaminated, or have impurities causing poisoning, and can be lethal. Acute health problems may include heart attack, stroke, and sudden death (even first-time use of cocaine or GHB). Long-term effects include heart and/or lung damage, high blood pressure, blood vessel leaks in brain, brain cell destruction, permanent memory loss, infertility, impotency, immune system impairment, kidney failure, and cirrhosis of the liver. In terms of sexual health, substance use can cloud judgment, making it more difficult to engage in safer sex practices that can prevent STIs/HIV or unintended pregnancy.  There is also a significant and nuanced relationship between alcohol/other drugs and sexual violence.  Drugs and alcohol can be used to incapacitate victims of sexual assault.

Using alcohol or other drugs while pregnant can cause fetal damage, birth defects, miscarriage and infant death. Additional information on health risks of substance abuse can be found on the National Institute of Drug Abuse website.

Online resources regarding health risks of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are available from the Student Health and Counseling Services’ Health Education and Promotion