Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policies

Date: October 30, 2007
To: All University of San Diego Students
From: Carmen M. Vazquez, Vice President for Student Affairs
Re:USD Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policies

In compliance with Part 86 of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses regulations, this memorandum is presented to provide University of San Diego (USD) students with the following (1) a description of the health risks associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs (2) a description of campus resources available to students including prevention and treatment resources (3) applicable federal, state, and legal sanctions and (4) disciplinary sanctions as outlined in the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities.  In addition, this memorandum serves as an opportunity to communicate that in an effort to better respond to the wellness and health needs of all USD students, the Wellness Area within Student Affairs has restructured the department of Alcohol and Other Drugs Services into a more comprehensive Center for Health and Wellness Promotion (CHWP).  The new Center will integrate current resources and will develop and implement holistic and comprehensive initiatives to better address students' health and mental health concerns.  In addition to continuing its efforts in the area of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education and prevention, and servicing the individual needs of students seeking assistance with AOD or disciplinary issues/concerns, the CHWP will focus on expanding Wellness Peer Programs and health promotion initiatives.


The use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs can cause a number of problematic changes in behavior and physiology. Alcohol, especially in high doses or combined with medications or other drugs, can lead to violent behaviors including acquaintance rape, vandalism, fights, incidents of drinking and driving, injury, and other medical emergencies. If you discover someone who is excessively intoxicated, unconscious or in need of emergency assistance, please dial extension 2222 if on campus, and 911 if off campus. Doing so may save someone's life.

Moderate to high doses of alcohol may cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and recall information. Research has shown that using alcohol or other drugs negatively affects academic performance. 

The risk of having an automobile accident increases after consuming even relatively small quantities of alcohol. Low doses may significantly impair judgment, coordination, abstract mental functioning, and the ability to complete complex tasks. 

Repeated use of alcohol and other drugs can lead to physical and/or emotional dependence. Alcohol or substance dependence occurs when a person continues their use despite recurrent social, interpersonal and/or legal consequences.  There is strong evidence based in medical research that alcohol and other drug abuse contributes significantly to heart disease and cancer as well as permanent damage of vital organs such as the brain and liver. There is clear evidence of serious negative effects on babies due to the use of illicit drugs and alcohol by the mother during pregnancy.


Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish). The use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce coordination and energy level. Its effect can last more for more than 4-6 hours after being used. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is both physically and emotionally addictive.

Hallucinogens (LSD, Ecstasy, and PCP) cause hallucinations. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects can occur, including ongoing loss of concentration and memory. Frequent use can cause permanent loss of some mental functions.

Cocaine/ Crack are highly addictive drugs. The immediate effects of cocaine include dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature, followed by depression. Crack can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, and even death. These drugs cause a temporary feeling of power, impairing judgment and decision-making.

Amphetamines (Crystal, Speed, Crank, and Meth) are highly addictive stimulants, which can cause one to "rush" around and appear stimulated. Amphetamines can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of coordination, collapse, and even death. Continued stimulant abuse can lead to mood swings, irritability, depression, sleeplessness, and even altered personality and paranoia.

Heroin causes the body to have diminished pain reactions and is highly addictive both physically and emotionally.  It can cause disinterest in relationships, personal productivity, and workplace safety. The use of heroin can result in coma and death. Commonly used intravenously, heroin use is associated with a wide range of physical health problems (i.e., AIDS, hepatitis). 

Prescription drugs (i.e. Anti-depressants, Pain Suppressants, Stimulants, and Tranquilizers) are safe ONLY if taken as prescribed under the supervision of a licensed physician. If abused, they can lead to sluggishness or hyperactivity, impaired reflexes, liver and kidney damage, addiction, and nervous system damage.


Knowing how to cope with problems and keeping yourself informed are important steps in successfully navigating the rigorous demands of college life. USD provides useful and informative preventative education programs throughout the year. A variety of departments sponsor programs, workshops and lectures on alcohol and other drug issues to support healthy lifestyles. These programs are available through the Center for Health and Wellness Promotion, 619- 260-4618, the USD Counseling Center, 619-260-4655. The Student Health Center, 619-260-4595, USD Public Safety, 619-260-7777, Residential Life, 619-260-7656, Associated Students, 619-260-4715, Greek Life, 619-260-4802, Athletics 619-260-5931.

USD supports and encourages students to make healthy choices for themselves and to offer support for those students who may require assistance in dealing with problematic alcohol and or other drug use.  Resources and referrals are available for students who have concerns regarding their own or someone else's use of alcohol and/or other drugs. For information and assistance, students are encouraged to contact the Center for Health and Wellness Promotion, Hahn University Center, Room 221; the USD Counseling Center, Serra Hall, Room 300; and/or the Student Health Center, Camino Hall, Room 161.


In California (CA) it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume, purchase or possess alcohol. If you violate these laws you are subject to a fine of at least $250.00 and suspension of your driving privileges. For more information about California laws, visit the CA.GOV California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control: and the alcohol and drug section of When you become 18: A survival guide for teenagers:

Campus standards of conduct are outlined in the STUDENT CODE OF RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES, which is clearly written in the Undergraduate and Graduate Handbook. These handbooks are located on-line at:, and

A PDF file of the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities can also be found at

Campus standards prohibit the sale, distribution, use, and possession of illicit drugs on University property or as any part of University-sponsored events or activities. Students who violate these standards of conduct will face judicial proceedings and may face suspension or expulsion from the University. In addition, the University will cooperate with governmental authorities in criminal and civil actions. The University does not accept alcohol or other drug use as an excuse for any act of abuse, intimidation, violence, harassment, or vandalism. For a complete outline of the University's Alcohol Policy go to

Students who possess, use or distribute illegal or controlled substances (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, unauthorized prescription medications) are subject to fines, arrest and imprisonment in accordance with University policies regarding illicit drugs and state and federal laws.

Possession, consumption, or sale of beer or wine is permitted at designated campus locations only with prior written approval of the designated representative of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Residential Life, Athletics, Greek Life and other programs have additional policies regarding alcohol and other drugs.  Please contact the relevant administrative offices for more information.

PARENTAL NOTIFICATION: In accordance with FERPA 34 C.R.F. & 99.31 and the Higher Education Amendment of 1998, parents of a student who is under the age of 21 may be notified by a representative from the Office of Student Affairs in connection with the use or possession of alcohol and/or an illegal or controlled substance in violation of law or institutional policy.

As a member of the USD student community, you are responsible for your behavior and will be held fully accountable for your actions, both on and off campus.  Each student is individually responsible for adhering to the USD Code of Conduct (  Violations of the Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary procedures.  Students may be expelled, suspended, or placed on University probation for violating state and federal laws. 

USD is a private university and considered private property. The USD Department of Public Safety is charged with the primary responsibility of maintaining a safe campus environment at USD. The authority to enforce University of San Diego policy is established by the Board of Trustees. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD), through a Memorandum of Understanding, permits USD Public Safety to investigate misdemeanor crimes occurring on USD property. The SDPD, however, is the primary reporting and investigating agency for any violent crimes or other felonies that might occur on USD property.

The USD Department of Public Safety is empowered to enforce state laws (misdemeanors only) and San Diego Municipal Code and University regulations such as possession of alcohol by a minor, public drunkenness, driving under the influence, local noise abatement laws, and social host ordinances. For additional information about the Department of Public Safety, please visit their web site at

USD is committed to upholding the alcohol and other drug policies contained in the USD Code of Conduct.  These policies, combined with alcohol and other drug prevention programs, intervention resources and environmental management strategies, contribute greatly to the overall wellness and safety of both the individual student and the greater USD community.  I solicit your compliance with these policies and invite your active participation in fostering a caring community and atmosphere of trust, safety and respect.

Carmen M. Vazquez
Vice President for Student Affairs