Drug and Alcohol Awareness

St. Mary’s Policy on Alcohol
and Other Drugs

The abuse of alcohol and other drugs by members of the University community is incompatible with the goals of an academic institution. In accordance with Texas State Law, St. Mary’s University does not permit the purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by persons under 21 years of age. Alcohol must be served by either Aramark or third party vendor, which must be licensed and pre-approved by the Dean of Students. Both the University and Aramark hold beer and wine licenses for the campus. Neither organization’s license permits the sale or distribution of any other kind of alcoholic beverage.

Respect is the foundation upon which the University bases its Alcohol Policy as outlined in the following areas:

  • Respect for Oneself – Those who are of legal age and choose to drink must never do so in a manner that puts them at personal risk.
  • Respect for Others – Intoxication is inappropriate behavior and does not excuse an individual from personal responsibility. Anyone choosing to drink must not drink to a level or in a situation where the rights and well being of others might be endangered.
  • Respect for Property – Research indicates that most campus vandalism and destruction is directly related to alcohol consumption. Each individual will be held responsible for any damage done while under the influence.


Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increases the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental function, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects described. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Other Drugs

State law, as well as University policies, prohibits the medically unsupervised use, possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of any narcotics or controlled substances.

Tobacco (Nicotine)

Some 30 percent of cancer deaths (130,000 per year) are linked to smoking. Chronic obstructive lung diseases such as emphysema are 10 times more likely to occur among smokers than non-smokers. Smoking during pregnancy also poses serious risks such as spontaneous abortion, pre-term birth, low birth weights, and fetal and infant deaths.

Designer Drugs

To circumvent legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce designer drugs. Many of the so-called designer drugs are related to amphetamines (MDMA, X). These substances can produce a severe neurochemical change to the brain. Narcotic type drugs (china white) can cause Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms (uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis and irreversible brain damage). Amphetamine and methamphetamine type substances causes nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression and paranoia. Designer phencyclidine causes illusions, hallucinations and impaired perception.


Narcotics initially produce feelings of euphoria followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Users may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.


The use of cocaine can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Immediate effects include dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature. Occasional use can cause stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose. Cocaine can produce psychological dependency; a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive, and physical effects include dilated pupils, increase pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures.

Other Stimulants

Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decrease appetite. Users may experience sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination and even physical collapse. Persons who use large amount of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

Marijuana (Cannabis)

Use of cannabis may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter one’s sense of time and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis and is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer causing agents than tobacco smoke.

Anabolic Steroids

Steroid users subject themselves to more than 70 possible side effects ranging in severity from liver cancer to acne, and include psychological, as well as physical reactions. The liver, cardiovascular and reproductive systems are most seriously affected by steroid use. In males, use can cause sterility and impotence. In females, irreversible masculine traits can develop along with sterility. Psychological effects include very aggressive behavior known as “roid rage” and depression.


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. Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. The use may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even after use has ceased. Users of PCP report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties, depression, anxiety and often violent behavior patterns.


The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness, relaxed muscles, but somewhat larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering gait and altered perception. Large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma and death. The combination of depressants can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks. The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness and Education

St. Mary’s University is a drug free school. The Drug Free School and Communities Act of 1989 requires institutions of higher education to adopt and implement programs to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol.

The University Police Department sponsors alcohol and drug abuse education and awareness programs each semester. Programs, campaigns and printed literature are presented during peak times when there may be a potential for alcohol and drug abuse, such as holidays, winter and spring breaks, social and leisure activities, and seasonal city events. Other alcohol and drug abuse awareness programs are held in conjunction with student organizations and the Office of Residence Life.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resources

The following are alcohol and drug abuse resources that are available both on and off campus:

On Campus: Wellness Programming 436-3997
Serves as a clearinghouse for information, assistance and referral on alcohol/drug related issues.

Student Health Center 436-3506
Medial assistance is available through medical personnel.

Counseling and Testing Center 436-3135
Counseling services are available by a staff psychologist, as well as psychological testing and assessment, and individual and group counseling.

Campus Ministry 436-3213
Offers pastoral and spiritual counseling and guidance.

Off Campus: Information concerning off campus resources can be obtained by visiting or calling Student Psychological and Testing Services.

Penalties for Alcohol Violations


Offense: Possession/consumption by a minor or consumption in a non-designated area or serving/selling to a minor or public intoxication
Penalty: $50 fine and discretionary sanctions
Subsequent: Fine: increments of $50 per offense, up to $300

Offense: Driving under the influence
Penalty: Fine and discretionary sanctions
Subsequent: Referral to civil authorities and suspension at the discretion of the Dean of Students.

Texas Law

Offense: Purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor
Penalty: Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500

Offense: Possession of alcohol in a motor vehicle (Open container)
Penalty: Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500

Offense: Sale of alcohol to a minor
Penalty: Class A Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $4,000, confinement of up to a year in jail, or both.

Offense: Public Intoxication
Penalty: Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500

Offense: Driving while intoxicated (includes intoxication from both alcohol and/or drugs).
Penalty: Class B Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $2,000, confinement of up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Penalties for Drug Violations


Offense: Possession, use, procurement or sale of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia or controlled substances.
Penalties: Probation, fine and/or suspension from the University; the length of the suspension is at the discretion of the University and is based on the type of offense and the student’s record of conduct.

Texas Law

Offense: Manufacture or delivery of controlled substance (drugs)
Minimum: Confinement in jail for a term of not more than 10 years or less than two years, or confinement in a community correctional facility for not more than one year, and a fine not to exceed $10,000
Maximum: Confinement in jail for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $500,000

Offense: Delivery of Marijuana
Minimum: Confinement in jail for a term not more than 180 days and a fine not to exceed $1,000
Maximum: Confinement in jail for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 15 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000

Offense: Possession of Marijuana
Minimum: Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days and a fine not to exceed $1,000
Maximum: Confinement in jail for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 15 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000

Federal Law

Offense: Manufacture, distribution, dispensing drugs (includes Marijuana).
Minimum: A jail term of not more than a year and a fine of $1,000
Maximum: A jail term of life without release (no eligibility for parole) and a fine not to exceed $8,000,000 (for individual) or $20,000,000 (if other than an individual)

Offense: Possession of Drugs (including Marijuana)
Minimum: Civil penalty in amount not to exceed $10,000
Maximum: A jail term of not more than more 20 years or not less than five years, and a fine of not less than $5,000 plus costs of investigation and prosecution.

Offense: Operation of common carrier under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Maximum: A jail term of up to 15 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000