Related Policies and Additional References:
Prevention of Alcohol Abuse & Controlled Substance Use at St. Mary’s University
St. Mary’s University is committed to preventing alcohol abuse and controlled substance use within our University community. Alcohol abuse and controlled substance drug use disrupts the special environment of personal growth that St. Mary’s seeks to foster. As such, every member of the St. Mary’s University community must help prevent alcohol abuse and controlled substance drug use from negatively affecting our learning environment.
This summary provides information on health risks, University policy, and legal repercussions associated with alcohol and other drug abuse. Additionally, information is provided on intervention, assessments, counseling, and referrals through StMU programs that can help all of community members reinforce and positively contribute to the educational mission of St. Mary’s University.
The Code of Student Conduct outlines St. Mary’s University policies regarding drugs and alcohol including the process by which violations of these policies are addressed and relevant sanctions.
Alcohol abuse is a prime contributor to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle deaths, and other unintended deaths. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to more than 100,000 deaths annually in the United States. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence, premature death through overdose, alcohol-related stroke, and complications involving the brain, heart, liver, and many other body organs. Alcohol abuse also causes liver disease, gastritis, and anemia, as well as cancers of the esophagus and larynx.
Alcohol used in any amount by a pregnant woman can cause birth defects and permanent brain damage to the child. Mothers who regularly drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. Drug use by a pregnant woman may also cause addiction or health complications in her unborn child.
Alcohol abuse interferes with psychological functions, causes interpersonal difficulties, and is involved in most cases of child abuse and sexual assault. Substance abuse disrupts work, reduces motivation, causes legal and financial problems, and social and family problems. Other problems associated with alcohol and other drug use includes the following psychological dysfunctions: dependency, memory loss, hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis.
The use of controlled substance drugs can result in a wide range of health problems. In general, controlled substance drug use can result in drug addiction, death by overdose, and death from withdrawals, seizure, heart problems, infections (i.e. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis), liver disease, and chronic brain dysfunction.
For information about health risks associated with alcohol and drug use call the Student Health Center at (210) 436-3506 or the Student Counseling Center at (210) 436- 3135.
To help individuals who may have alcohol or other drug use problems, the following resources are available to students, faculty, and staff.
St. Mary’s University Student Counseling Center supports the intellectual, emotional, social, and cultural development of students by offering a wide range of confidential services, including personal and group counseling, consultation, and educational services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (210) 436-3135 or view their website.
The Employee Assistance Program (E.A.P.) administered by the Human Resources Office provides support for all University employees on the issues of alcohol and drug misuse, abuse, or dependence, among other areas. More information on the services provided through the Employee Assistance Programs can be obtained by calling the Human Resources office at (210) 436-3725.
The StMU Police Department’s staff of commissioned police officers is responsible for all law enforcement, security and emergency responses on campus, to include property owned, leased, or controlled by the university. The Department also plays a significant role in educating and training our community members on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. For more information, call the University Police Department at (210) 436-3330 or visit the Police Department webpage.
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 less than 21 years of age. Alcohol must be served by ARAMARK, the University’s contracted food service provider, or a third party vendor, which must be licensed and pre-approved by the Dean of Students. The University’s Alumni Association and ARAMARK each hold beer and wine licenses for the campus, but 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. Low to moderate doses of alcohol significantly affects the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, and 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.
State law, as well as University policies, prohibits the medically unsupervised use, possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of any narcotics or controlled substances. Additionally, abuse and misuse of prescription drugs and medications is prohibited.
Some 30% 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.
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 cause 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.
Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased 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 amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
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.
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 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 user 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 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 Schools and Campuses Act of 1989 requires institutions of higher education to adopt and implement programs to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of controlled substance drugs and alcohol. The University Wellness Team partners with the Office of Residence Life, the Student Life Office, University Police Department, and other campus departments to provide alcohol and drug abuse education and awareness programs each semester. Special programming emphasis is given to 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.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resources
The following are alcohol and drug abuse resources that are available both on and off campus:
Student Health Center
Medical assistance is available to students and is provided by a Board Certified Family Practice physician and a Physician Assistant.
Student Counseling Center
Counseling services are available by counselors, therapists, and staff psychologists, as well as psychological assessment and testing, and individual and group counseling. Psychiatric support is also available.
Offers pastoral and spiritual counseling and guidance.
Information concerning off campus psychological and psychiatric resources can be obtained from the Student Counseling Center. Information concerning off campus medical resources can be obtained through the Student Health Center.
Penalties for Alcohol Violations
Penalties at St. Mary’s University
The following list of sanctions is meant to illustrate the possible St. Mary’s University actions for students responsible for violating a drug or alcohol policy. Final decisions about sanctions will depend on the nature of each individual incident.
Possession/consumption by a minor, consumption in a non-designated area, serving/selling to a minor, public intoxication, or knowingly providing false information to obtain alcohol:
Range of sanctions for initial incident: fines, reflection activity, substance abuse assessment(s) and counseling, Residence Life probation, University probation, parental contact, follow-up meeting(s) with university staff
Subsequent incident(s): Fines up to $300; possible loss of on-campus housing privilege, loss of privilege to publicly represent StMU in any capacity (such as University athletics, student employment, or organization leadership), University probation, disciplinary suspension from the university
Driving under the influence on University-owned-or-controlled property:
Range of Sanctions for initial incident: fines, reflection activity, substance abuse assessment(s) and counseling, parental contact, University probation, parental contact, follow-up meeting(s) with university staff
Subsequent incident(s): Referral to civil authorities and possible suspension at the discretion of the Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students.
Purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor; knowingly providing false information to obtain alcohol – Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.02(a), 106.04(a), 106.05(a), 106.07(a)
First Offense : Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500
Third or Subsequent Offense : Fine of $250 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, 30 to 180 days suspension of driver’s license, alcohol awareness class, 8 to 12 hours community service.
Public Intoxication – Texas Penal Code §49.02
First Offense : Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500
Third or Subsequent Offense: Fine of $250 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, 30 to 180 days suspension of driver’s license, 8 to 12 hours of community service.
Possession of alcohol in a motor vehicle (Open container) – Texas Penal Code §49.031
Minimum: Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500.
Driving while having a detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system – Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041
First Offense : Class C Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $500, alcohol awareness class, 20 – 40 hours of community service, 60 days suspension of driver’s license.
Third or Subsequent offense : A fine of not less than $500 or more than $2000, 180 days of jail confinement
Driving while intoxicated (includes intoxication from both alcohol and/or drugs) – Texas Penal Code §49.04
First Offense : Class B Misdemeanor: A fine not to exceed $2000, 3 days in jail, or both, 90 days to one year suspension o driver’s license.
Second or Subsequent Offense : Up to $10,000 fine, 2 to 20 years in jail, two years suspension of driver’s license, required Ignition Interlock device for personal vehicle.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor – Texas Penal Code §106.03(a), 106.06(a)
Class A Misdemeanor: Fine not to exceed $4,000; up to one year in jail, or both, 20 to 40 hours of community service, 180 days suspension of driver’s license.
Penalties for Drug Violations
Penalties at St. Mary’s University
Possession, use, procurement, or sale of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia or controlled substances.
Range of sanctions for initial incident: fines, community service, reflection activity, substance abuse assessment(s) and counseling, parental contact, loss of residence hall visitation and guest privileges, eligibility restrictions on serving as a public representative of StMU, follow-up meeting(s) with university staff, deferred loss of on-campus housing privilege, loss of on-campus housing privilege, University probation, co-curricular suspension, disciplinary suspension for up to four years
Subsequent incident(s): Loss of on-campus housing privilege, University probation, co-curricular suspension, disciplinary suspension for up to four years
Possession of Marijuana – Texas Penal Code §481.121
Class B Misdemeanor: if the amount of marijuana possessed is two ounces or less;
Class A Misdemeanor: if the amount of marijuana possessed is four ounces or less but more than two ounces;
State Jail Felony: if the amount of marijuana possessed is five pounds or less but more than four ounces;
Felony Third Degree: if the amount of marijuana possessed is fifty pounds or less but more than five pounds;
Felony Second Degree: if the amount of marijuana possessed is 2,000 pounds or less but more than fifty pounds;
Penalties range from: Fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or 180 days or less in jail to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less then five years. Confinement in jail for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years, and a fine not to exceed $50,000, if the amount of marijuana possessed is more than 2,000 pounds.
Note: All penalties can be enhanced by one level if committed on the grounds of an institution of higher education (St. Mary’s University), in accordance with Education Code Section 481.134 (Drug Free Zones).
Possession of Controlled Substances (Penalty Groups 1, 1A, 2, 2a, 3, 4) – Texas Penal Code §481.102, 481.103, 481.104, 481.105
Penalties for the possession or manufacture of the above Penalty Groups range from: Fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or 180 days or less in jail to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $250,000.
Delivery of Marijuana – Texas Penal Code §481.120
Class B Misdemeanor: If the amount of marijuana delivered is one-fourth ounce or less and the person committing the offense does not receive remuneration for the marijuana;
Class A Misdemeanor: If the amount of marijuana delivered is one-fourth ounce or less and the person committing the offense receives remuneration for the marijuana;
State Jail Felony: If the amount of marijuana delivered is five pounds or less but is more than one-fourth ounce;
State Jail Felony: If the amount of marijuana delivered is five pounds or less but is more than one-fourth ounce;
Felony Second Degree: If the amount of marijuana delivered is fifty pounds or less but is more than five pounds;
Felony First Degree: If the amount of marijuana delivered is 2,000 pounds or less but more than fifty pounds;
Penalties for the delivery of marijuana range from: Fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or 180 days or less in jail to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $100,000, if the amount of marijuana delivered is more than 2,000 pounds.
Manufacture or delivery of controlled substance (Penalty Group 2 or 2A) – Texas Penal Code §481.113
State Jail Felony: If the amount of the controlled substance to which the offense applies is, by aggregate weight, including adulterants or dilutants, less than one gram;
Felony Second Degree: If the amount of the controlled substance to which the offense applies is, by aggregate weight, including adulterants or dilutants, one gram or more but less than four grams;
Felony First Degree: If the amount of the controlled substance to which the offense applies is, by aggregate weight, including adulterants or dilutants, four grams or more but less than 400 grams;
An offense is punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $100,000. If the amount of the controlled substance to which the offense applies is by aggregate weight, including adulterants or dilutants, 400 grams or more.
Other penalties for the delivery of controlled substances range from: 180 days to two years in jail; and a fine not to exceed $10,000 to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $100,000.
Possession of Drugs (including Marijuana)
Minimum: Civil penalty in amount not to exceed $1,000, up to one year in jail
Maximum: 3 years in jail and a fine of not less than $5,000 plus costs of investigation and prosecution.
Manufacture, distribution, dispensing drugs (includes Marijuana).
Minimum: A jail term of not more than a year and a fine of $100,000 (for individual) or $250,000 (if other than an individual)
Maximum: A jail term of life without release (no eligibility for parole) and a fine not to exceed $20,000,000 (for individual) or $75,000,000 (if other than an individual)
St. Mary’s University Sanctions
A student or employee found responsible for violating the St. Mary’s University Alcohol or Drug Policy or the laws of the State of Texas has committed a violation of Student Code of Conduct and/or the Personnel Manual, and is subject to sanctions commensurate with the offenses and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
Disciplinary action in cases involving drug-related violations by students may result in suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the University. Cases involving employees will result in disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination. Severity of sanctions will depend upon the nature and seriousness of each case.
Violations of any state or federal law pertaining to controlled substances, which occur off campus and are not associated with a University-connected activity, may result in disciplinary charges if the continued presence of the individual on campus is likely to interfere with the educational process and/or the orderly operation of the University.
University disciplinary proceedings will be implemented in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct (students) and the Personnel Manual (faculty and staff). Any disciplinary action imposed by the University may precede and be in addition to any penalty imposed by law enforcement authorities on or off campus.