Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

The University of New Hampshire is committed to maintaining an environ­ment of teaching and learning that is free of illicit drugs and alcohol.

For many years, the University has had in place a policy to assist those with substance abuse, and a list of agencies available to support faculty, staff, and students is provided in various University of New Hampshire’s publications.

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 require that the University of New Hampshire, as a recipient of federal funds, including federally-provided student financial aid, notify its students and employees annually that the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on University property is prohibited.

In compliance with the requirements of the Drug Free Schools and Com­munities Act Amendments of 1989, all students and employees of the Uni­versity of New Hampshire are notified of the following:

1. The unlawful possession, use, and distribution of illicit drugs and alco­hol on the University campus or during University-sponsored activities are prohibited.

2. Students and employees who are found to be in violation of this stated prohibition may be subject to arrest and conviction under the applicable criminal laws of local municipalities, the State of New Hampshire, or the United States. Conviction can result in sanctions including probation, fines and imprisonment.

3. Students who are found to be in violation of this stated prohibition are subject to discipline in accordance with the procedures of the Student Con­duct System. Discipline may include disciplinary probation or dismissal from the University.

4. Faculty and staff employees who are found to be in violation of this stated prohibition are subject to discipline in accordance with the applicable Uni­versity employment rules and procedures. Discipline may include proba­tion, suspension, or termination of employment.

In addition to the above requirements, and in accordance with the require­ments of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, all employees are notified that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance by University employees on University prem­ises or off our premises while conducting University business is prohibited. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and may have further legal consequences.

Federal Drug Laws

The possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs is prohibited by federal law. Strict penalties are provided for drug convictions, including mandatory prison terms for many offenses. The following information, although not complete, is an overview of Federal penalties for first convictions. All penal­ties are doubled for any subsequent drug conviction.

1. Denial of Federal Benefits 21 U.S.C. 862

A Federal Drug Conviction may result in the loss of Federal benefits, includ­ing school loans, grants, scholarships, contracts, and licenses. Federal Drug Trafficking convictions may result in denial of Federal Benefits for up to 5 years for a first conviction, 10 years for a second conviction, and permanent denial of Federal benefits for a third conviction. Federal Drug convictions for possession may result in denial of Federal benefits for up to 1 year for a first conviction and up to 5 years for subsequent convictions.

2. Forfeiture of Personal Property and Real Estate 21 U.S.C. 853

Any person convicted of a Federal drug offense punishable by more than 1 year in prison shall forfeit to the United States any personal or real property related to the violation, including houses, cars, and other personal belong­ings. A warrant of seizure is issued and property is seized at the time an individual is arrested on charges that may result in forfeiture.

3. Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties 21 U.S.C. 841

Penalties for Federal Drug Trafficking convictions vary according to the quantity of the controlled substance involved in the transaction. The list below is a sample of the range and severity of federal penalties imposed for first convictions. Penalties for subsequent convictions are twice as severe.

If death or serious bodily injury results from the use of a controlled sub­stance which has been illegally distributed, the person convicted on federal charges of distributing the substance faces a mandatory life sentence and fines ranging up to $8 million.

Persons convicted on Federal charges of drug trafficking within 1,000 feet of a University (21 U.S.C. 845a) face penalties of prison terms and fines which are twice as high as the regular penalties for the offense, with a mandatory prison sentence of at least 1 year.

4. Federal Drug Possession Penalties

Persons convicted on Federal charges of possessing any controlled sub­stance face penalties of up to 1 year in prison and a mandatory fine of no less than $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000. Second convictions are punish­able by not less than 15 days but not more than 2 years in prison and a mini­mum fine of $2,500. Subsequent convictions are punishable by not less than 90 days but not more than 3 years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000.

New Hampshire State Laws

The legal drinking age in New Hampshire is 21. If you are under 21, it is ille­gal to (1) have in your personal possession any alcoholic beverages, (2) mis­represent your age for purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages, (3) drive in a car having alcoholic beverages except when accompanied by a parent, guardian, spouse 21 years of age, (4) be in an area where alcoholic beverages are served unless accompanied by person 21 years of age, (5) be intoxicated by consumption of an alcoholic beverage (alcohol concentration of .02 or more is evidence of intoxication). Penalty: fine and/or time in jail.

It is illegal for anyone to (1) sell, give away or procure alcoholic beverage to a minor or individual who is intoxicated (2) charge for alcoholic beverages without a license (3) manufacture, sell, possess or use a falsified ID (4) to lend a driver’s license to be used for unlawful purpose. Penalty: fine and/or jail sentences.

1. (DWI) Driving While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

You may be found guilty of DWI if you drive a vehicle while you have a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration if 21 years of age or 0.02% if under the age of 21.

2. Unlawful Possession

Any person under 21 years of age who has in their possession any alcoholic beverages is guilty of a violation and will be fined a minimum of $250. Any second and/or subsequent offenses will be fined at least $500. A penalty assessment fee of 17% will be added to the above fines.

If you are under the age of 21 and are found guilty of illegal possession of alcohol you will be given a probationary drivers license until 21 years of age. Any subsequent alcohol violations will result in suspension of drivers license.

It is a violation for a minor not only to possess alcohol, but also to be intoxi­cated or have a BAC level of .02 or more (internal possession of alcohol). Penalty: fine and/or suspension of driver’s license or privilege to drive.

3. Keg Registration Law

Law requires sellers of keg beer to create a record of purchases and to obtain the identity of the purchaser. Sellers will attach a unique label to the retail keg which will enable law enforcement to determine the identity of the seller as well as the purchaser. If contents of the keg are consumed by a minor, law enforcement will have an avenue to identify the purchaser of the keg. Any person who removes the label shall be guilty of a violation which is punish­able by a $1,000 fine.

Description of Health Risks

Serious health and personal risks are associated with the use of illegal drugs, prescription drugs and abuse of alcohol. Most people take prescription medication responsibly. When misused or abused, prescriptions drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drugs. They may include temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment, and injury or death. Use and abuse of such substances may also give rise to conduct which causes injury, death or dam­age to the user/abuser or to the person or property of others, resulting in criminal or civil prosecution and liability. Use and abuse of such substances may also lead to unsafe and/or non consensual sex, unwanted pregnancy, and may cause defects, injury or death in unborn children. Consequences may also include temporary or permanent loss of educational or employ­ment opportunities.

1. Drugs and the Body—Narcotics (ex. Heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet)

There are legal and illegal narcotics. Narcotics are effective in pain control and for other medical purposes when prescribed by a physician and used as directed. Use is often diverted however, which can produce multiple prob­lems as narcotics are highly addictive and often associated in drug depen­dency and overdoses.

Effects—The user may experience initial euphoria, followed by drowsiness and nausea. Someone under the influence may have constricted pupils, watery eyes and a “dazed” look.

Risks—There is a risk of overdose with narcotics and users may develop slow, shallow breathing, clammy skin, loss of appetite and weight. Overdose can lead to possible death without intervention. Narcotics are highly addictive and may require inpatient treatment to safely detoxify the body.

2. Depressants (Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines)

Depressants can also be legal and illegal. The most popular legal depressant is alcohol (see below). Depressants slow the central nervous system and may be prescribed by a physician to induce sleep, reduce stress, or help control anxiety. There is a danger of overdosing with depressants.

Effects—The user may experience some relaxation, calmness, drowsiness and even euphoria. In high levels the user may experience confusion, disori­entation and impaired motor coordination, including slurred speech and loss of balance.

Risks—Overdose may produce shallow breathing, clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, coma and possible death. Risk of overdose is increased when the person combines depressant drugs (intentionally or accidentally).

3. Stimulants (Cocaine; Methamphetamine e.g., Ritalin; Amphetamines e.g., Adderall)

Stimulants speed up the mental and physical processes of the body. Histori­cally they have been used both in their legal (nicotine and caffeine and in the treatment of ADD/ADHD) and illegal forms. These substances help keep people awake, provide more energy, and suppress appetite. They have also been prescribed by physicians to increase enhance focus and concentration in individuals with ADD/ADHD. These drugs can be addictive and can pro­duce withdrawal symptoms if stopped.

Effects—The user may experience an increased heart rate, increased energy and increased alertness. Users may also find they have an increased blood pressure, excessive talkativeness, and increased anxiety. In large doses, users find loss of coordination, dizziness, anxiety, cardiac and respiratory distress, and seizures, among other concerns.

Risks—Increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions and pos­sible death.

4. Hallucinogens (Mushrooms, LSD, PCP)

These are drugs that alter a person’s state of mind and mood. Some types produce hallucinations, causing the person to hear, see, and smell things that are not real. Dissociative drugs do not cause hallucinations, but can cause the person to feel disassociated with their body, or feel detached from his/her surroundings.

Effects—Users may experience illusions or hallucinations. They may become confused, experience panic, anxiety, depression, and poor perception of time and distance.

Risks—Users may experience respiratory failure or death due to careless or accidental behaviors.

5. Dissociative Drugs (Ketemine, PCP)

Dissociative drugs can cause a person to feel disassociated from their body, or feel detached from their surroundings.

EffectsUsers may experience feelings of detachment and distortions of space, time and body. They may become confused, experience panic, anxiety, depression, feelings of invulnerability or exaggerated strength.

RisksUsers can exhibit violent behavior, loss of coordination, severe muscle contractions, kidney damage, convulsions and possible death.

6. Predatory Drugs (Rohypnol, GHB)

These drugs are considered predatory because of their sedative affects. They can leave an individual with no recollection of what happened. They are col­orless and odorless and when mixed with soda, alcohol and other beverage become virtually undetectable. They metabolize quickly and can become difficult to detect in as little as 12 hours.

Effects—Causes distortion in perception, delirium and amnesia.

Risks—Incapacitates user and can cause coma and seizures and amnesia. These drugs are linked with sexual assault.

7. Club Drugs (Ecstasy)

Ecstasy comes in a tablet or capsule form. It is a synthetic drug that has stimulating and psychoactive properties similar to methamphetamine.

Effects—Can cause increased euphoria, energy and emotional warmth as well as distortion in time perception and tactile experiences. It can also cause nausea, chills, sweating and muscle cramps.

Risks—Users can experience impaired memory and learning, paranoia, psy­chotic behavior, hyperthermia, cardiac and liver toxicity, along with renal failure and death.

7. Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish)

These drugs are illegal though conversations for legalization or decriminal­ization occur throughout the country regularly.

Effects—Users may experience euphoria, relaxation and/or drowsiness and an increased appetite. Short-term effects may include impaired short-term memory, impaired concentration, and attention. Long-term effects may include addiction (both psychological and physical), anxiety and memory loss. Users also report lack of motivation or difficulty setting and reach­ing goals.

Risks—There is little risk of overdose however there is a risk of an increasing tolerance which can lead to increased use. There are also medical com­plications such as: increased risk of respiratory infections, emphysema, certain cancers, and fertility issues.

8. Steroids (Anabolic)

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone.

They are generally taken orally or injected. Steroids are often abused to build muscle or enhance performance.

Effects—Using steroids can cause liver damage, water retention, and high bold pressure for both men and women. Side effects for men include shrinking testicles, baldness, breast development and infertility. For women, side effects include facial hair, male patterned baldness, menstrual changes and deepened voice.

Risks—Abuse by adolescents can prematurely end their growth spurt causing them to remain shorter in height than they would have been. There is also the potential for fatal liver cysts, liver cancer, blood clotting problems, cho­lesterol changes and hypertension which can lead to heart attack or stroke. It has also been suggested that high dose use can increase aggression.

9. Alcohol

The Food and Drug Administration defines low-risk drinking as:

•   No more than 1 drink per day for women (if daily)

•   No more than 2 drinks per day for men (if daily)

•   No more than 3 drinks for women, 4 drinks for men on any given day

Alcohol is a depressant drug that is legal in the United States for those over the age of 21 years. Small quantities of alcohol (low-risk) have for a legal-aged user has not been linked to any increased health risks, and in some cases, has been credited with some health benefits.

However, higher quantities (high-risk use) have been associated with increased risk for breast and colon cancer and in heart disease, as well as with a variety of unintentional consequences.

Effects—The users may experience a general relaxation, mild reduction in inhibitions and some impairment in judgment in low-risk amounts. Higher risk quantities may result in the user having greater impairment in judgment, alertness and coordination.

Risks—High-risk amounts can increase risk for:

•   Risk taking behaviors (example: sexual, driving)

•   Alcohol poisoning which can include: passing out (coma or becoming unconscious) nausea/vomiting and memory loss (black outs)

•   Hostility or other behavior changes.

•   Dependence and/or addiction

•   Uncharacteristic family, school, work and/or legal problems

•   Health problems such as cancers, health disease and cirrhosis of the liver

•   Unintentional injuries and death

•   Birth and developmental defects if exposed during pregnancy

Additionally, alcohol taken with other drugs can intensify the effects of the drug, alter the desired effect of the drug and can cause nausea, sweating, severe headaches, convulsions and death by overdose.

USNH Policy Governing Alcohol and Controlled Substances

Use of Alcohol and Controlled Substances During Work Hours

  1. Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, amphetamine-type drugs, barbiturate-type drugs, cannabis-type drugs, cocaine-type drugs, morphine-type drugs, hallucinogenic drugs, or any controlled drugs as provided in RSA 318-B during work hours by University System employees is prohibited. The only exceptions are the use of alcoholic beverages when permitted by policy and the use of drugs in strict accor­dance with the prescription of a physician or dentist.
  2. Safety considerations and concern for the image of the institution require that discretion be exercised in the use of alcoholic beverages either on or away from University System property during meal or break periods.
  3. In situations where the use of certain types of medication may negatively affect mental concentration or coordination (such as antihistamines or “mood altering” drugs), safety considerations may require temporary reas­signment of duties and responsibilities by the department chairperson or supervisor following notification of such use by the faculty or staff member.
  4. In the event that a faculty or staff member is found to be acting against policy as stated above, he or she will be subject to appropriate action, which may include a warning, reprimand, suspension, or discharge.

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

  1. The University System of New Hampshire views alcoholism and drug addiction as highly complex diseases which, once they have been recog­nized, can be arrested by appropriate treatment, and for which the same consideration is given to faculty and staff as in the case of other illnesses. The USNH Alcohol Assistance Program is available to any seeking help in dealing with this illness.
  2. Supervisors who have documentation of a faculty or staff member’s defi­cient or deteriorating performance which they believe may be related to use of alcohol or drugs must discuss options for handling the problem with the personnel officer or other official designated by the campus chief executive officer. Supervisors shall not engage in diagnosis or establishing treatment plans for employees. The employee must then be confronted and asked to seek medical assistance. The decision to undertake treatment through qual­ified sources is the responsibility of the individual faculty or staff member.
  3. The individual’s employment status will in no way be affected by the deci­sion to seek treatment. He or she will continue to be covered by applicable personnel policies. If cooperation in obtaining treatment does not occur and work performance continues to be deficient, or if treatment does not result in evident improvement of performance within a reasonable period, a performance review will be conducted to allow for appropriate determi­nation concerning the individual’s future employment status, within the framework of existing policy. In cases where such action is taken, it will be based on evidence of poor job performance, such as frequent absences and neglect of duties and responsibilities, drastically altered moods, physical or verbal abuse, and deterioration of working relationships.

(Approved by the Administrative Board May 17, 1985)



Examples of Drugs/Medications and possible symptoms treated

Some possible reactions with alcohol

Allergy Symptoms, Colds, Flu (Examples: Allegra, Benedryl, Tylenol Cold, Nyquil, Pseudoephedrine, etc.)

Drowsiness, dizziness; Increased risk for alcohol overdose

Attention Deficit (Examples: Adderall, Ritilin, etc.)

Diminished drowsiness from alcohol. May lead to over consumption of alcohol, increased intoxication

Anxiety and Epilepsy (Examples: Ativan, Valium, Paxil) Herbal: Kava Kava

Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose; slowed or difficulty breathing. Impaired motor skills, unusual behavior, memory problems Liver damage, drowsiness

Arthritis (Example: Celebrex)

Ulcers, stomach bleeding, liver problems

Blood Clots (Example: Coumadin)

Occasional drinking may lead to internal bleeding, heavier drinking also may cause blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks

Cough medicines (Examples: Delsym, Robitussin A-C)

Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose

Depression (Examples: Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft) Herbal: St. John’s Wort

Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose; increased feelings of depression or hopelessness in adolescents (suicide)

Diabetes (Example: Glucophage)

Abnormally low blood sugar levels, flushing reaction; Nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure

Heartburn, indigestions, sour stomach (Examples: Zantac, Tagamet)

Rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood; increased alcohol effect

High blood pressure (Examples: Accupril, Cardura, Hytril, Lopressor HCT)

Dizziness, fainting, drowsiness; heart problems such as changes in the heart’s regular heartbeat

High cholesterol (Examples: Lipitor, Crestor)

Liver damage (all medications); increased flushing and itching, increased stomach bleeding

Infections (Examples: Flagyl, Nizoral, Tindamax0

Fast heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure; stomach pain, upset stomach, vomiting, headache, or flushing, or redness of the face; some medications can cause liver damage

Muscle pain (Examples: Flexeril, Soma)

Drowsiness, dizziness; increased risk for overdose; increased risk for seizures, slowed or difficulty breathing; impaired motor control; unusual behavior; memory problems

Nausea, motion sickness (Examples: Antivert, Atarax)

Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose

Pain (headache, muscle, minor arthritis) fever (Examples: Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin, Acetaminophen)

Stomach upset, bleeding and ulcers; liver damage (acetaminophen); rapid heartbeat, possible risk for increased intoxication.

Seizures (Examples: Klonopin, Dilantin)

Drowsiness, dizziness; increased risk of seizures

Severe Pain (Examples: Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol)

Drowsiness, dizziness; increased risk for overdose; slowed or difficulty breathing; impaired motor control; unusual behavior, memory problems

Sleep Problems (Examples: Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril) Herbal remedies for sleep problems (Examples: Valerian, SAMe)

Drowsiness, sleepiness, dizziness, slowed or difficulty breathing; impaired motor control; unusual behavior, memory problems

Adapted by information provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism



UNH Policy on Drug-Free Workplace

The University of New Hampshire as an employer strives to maintain a workplace free from illegal use of controlled substances.

Unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance by University employees on University premises or off our premises while conducting University business is prohibited. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termina­tion and may have further legal consequences.

The University recognizes controlled substances dependency as an illness and a major health as well as potential safety or security problem. Employ­ees are encouraged to seek assistance by contacting The Employee Assis­tance Plan, appointments: 1-800-628-2417, 24 hour Crisis Intervention: 1-800-424-1749, as well as utilizing health insurance and appropriate leave of absence plans. Conscientious efforts to seek such help will not jeopardize any employee’s job and will not be noted in any personnel record.

Employees must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy and report any conviction under a drug criminal statute. A report of a conviction must be made to the immediate supervisor within five (5) working days after the conviction. If the employee is covered by a grant or contract, the University must notify the contracting agency within ten (10) days after receiving a notice of conviction. (These requirements are man­dated by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.)

Assistance Services

The University of New Hampshire is concerned about the use of and addic­tion to alcohol and other drugs. In order to assist individuals who struggle with this issue the following services are available.

Human Resources, 862-0501, can provide assistance in area of policy clari­fication and options available, as well as information on benefits.

UNH Health Services, 862-1530, can assist by providing referral informa­tion on in- and out-patient treatment, and support groups, to individuals concerned about their own alcohol or other drug use or that of a family member. A resource library is also available for information.

Environmental Health and Safety provides Drug-Free Workplace training sessions for faculty and staff. To register for a session, call 862-3452.

Alcohol/Other Drug Education and Assistance Services


Human Resources 862-0501

Employee Assistance Program 24-Hour confidential counseling and referral service -800-424-1749

Office of Health Education and Promotion, Health Services, Support group information, resources/referral, library 862-3823

Health Service Medical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .862-WELL


Health Service Medical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .862-WELL

Office of Health Education and Promotion, Health Services, Counseling, education, referrals, support group information, library 862-3823

UNH Counseling Center, counseling, referral 862-2090

Office of Conduct and Mediation Services 862-3377

This information is provided in compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.