Alcohol in Residential Spaces
Union is primarily a community of underage students, and experience teaches that the abuse of alcohol can often interfere with the productive pursuit of a College education. Students who are under the age of 21 may not possess or consume alcohol anywhere on campus including the residential spaces. Residential spaces are defined as all College-owned and administered living units. The following actions relating to alcohol are prohibited:
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcoholic beverages by student under the age of 21 years.
- Furnishing or selling any alcohol beverages to any person under 21 years of age.
- Possessing or consuming alcohol in any public area outside the residence halls.
- Possessing or consuming alcohol outside individual bedrooms or suites within the residence halls.
- Collecting, displaying or storing empty alcohol containers.
- Being incapacitated by alcohol or drugs whether under or over the age of 21 years.
- Possessing or consuming alcohol from common sources including, but not limited to kegs, beer balls, wine boxes, and punch bowls.
- Possessing or using a tap system or “regulator.”
- Possessing any binge-drinking device including, but not limited to, funnels or beer pong tables.
- Participating in flip cup, beer pong, or any other organized games intended for rapid personal consumption.
Students over the age of 21 are allowed alcohol in their residence. The amount of alcohol allowed for students over the age of 21 is listed as follows:
- One 12-pack (twelve 12 oz. bottles/cans) of beer or hard seltzer OR,
- Two 750 ml bottles of wine OR,
- One 750 ml bottle of hard alcohol.
Evidence shows the irresponsible use of hard alcohol (liquor) by Union students greatly increases the risk of harm to themselves and others. Therefore, more significant sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have distributed hard alcohol or consumed it in excess. Students age 21 and older may possess moderate amounts of hard alcohol.
- Moderate = 750 ml or 2 pints
The "ABC" (Alcohol Beverage Control) Law
The ABC Law addresses the issues pertaining to those under the age of twenty-one years who possess or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages, as well as those who assist them.
Section 65.1 Prohibited Sale:
No person shall sell, deliver or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered or given away any alcoholic beverage to any person, actually or apparently, under the age of twenty-one years.
If you are working in a store/restaurant that sells alcoholic beverages, the only acceptable identifications are:
- Valid Driver’s License or Non-Driver Identification Card issued by a governmental agency
- Valid Passport
- U.S. Military ID
Section 65-a- Procuring Alcoholic Beverages for Persons Under the Age of Twenty-One-Years
It is a criminal offense to misrepresent the age of a person under twenty-one years to induce the sale of any alcoholic beverage.
- Penalty - $200.00 fine and /or five days in jail
Section 65-b Offense for One Under the Age of Twenty-One Years to Purchase or Attempt to Purchase an Alcoholic Beverage Through Fraudulent Means
It is an offense for one under age of twenty-one years to purchase or attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage through fraudulent means.
- First violation: Fine up to $100.00, and/or up to 30 hours of community service, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program. In addition, if a New York State driver’s license was used as identification, the court may suspend your license for three months.
- Second violation: Fine between $50.00 and $350.00 and/or up to 30 hours of community service, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program. In addition, if a New York State driver’s license was used as identification, the court may suspend your license for six months.
- Third and subsequent violations: Fine between $50.00 and $750.00 and/or up to 30 hours of community service, and/or evaluation by an appropriate agency to determine whether the person suffers from alcoholism or alcohol abuse. In addition, if a New York State driver’s license was used as identification, the court may suspend your license for one year or until you reach twenty-one.
Section 65-c Unlawful Possession of an Alcoholic Beverage with Intent to Consume by Persons Under the Age of Twenty-One Years
No person under the age of twenty-one years shall possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume such beverage, with a few exceptions.
- Penalty – Fine up to $50.00 and /or five days in jail, and/or up to 30 hours of community service, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program.
Drinking & Driving
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) Violation
(More than .05 to .07 Blood Alcohol Content)
Up to 15 days
90 day suspension***
2nd w/in 5 years
Up to 30 days
Minimum 6 months ***
*** 1 Year revocation for persons under 21 years of age
*** 1 Year or until person reaches the age of 21 years.
Implies Consent - Any person who operates a motor vehicle in New York State has given consent to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the alcoholic and/or drug content of the blood.
Up to 1 year
Minimum 6 months** revocation
Up to 4 years
Minimum 1 year ***
Up to 1 year
Up to 18 months
1 year revocation**
18 month revocation (or until 21 years old
If you are charged with or convicted of certain alcohol-related offense, the courts will order alcohol screening and/or alcohol evaluation, prior to sentencing.
Zero Tolerance Law
Applies to a person under 21 years of age. (More than .07 up to .20 BAC)
- First Offense includes a fine $125 and a 6 month Suspension
- Penalties: Fine up to $50.00 and/or up to 30 hours of community service, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program.
- Conviction fine only. Does not include mandatory conviction surcharge or crime victims assistance fee.
**For license revocations, the Department of Motor Vehicles determines when your license can be returned. Its return or reinstatement, based on state law or regulation, is not automatic. You must reapply for your license and may have to take a test. Three or more alcohol or drug-related offenses within 10 years can result in a permanent revocation, with a waiver request permitted after at least five years.
Summary of Federal Drug Law
The Union College campus is not a sanctuary from the law in matters of illicit drug use. The use of illicit drugs, synthetic drugs and marijuana can adversely affect the academic and personal life of the individual, and has the potential to disrupt the academic and residential community of the College.
Thus, the possession, distribution, or the use of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs and narcotics, including but not limited to amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD, Synthetic drugs and any associated paraphernalia is strictly prohibited. Violations will result in disciplinary action which may include assigning of applicable points, campus/community services, referral to Health Educator, suspension, or expulsion.
Summary of Federal Drug Law
Further Summary of Federal Drug Law
Summary of Federal Marijuana Law
Growing and using marijuana remains a crime under federal law, and federal legislation also prohibits any institution of higher education that receives federal funding from allowing the possession and use of marijuana. The College receives monies in federal grants and contracts and in financial aid for students. The College continues to enforce its current policies regarding controlled substances and any students or employees who violate College policy prohibiting the use or possession of illegal drugs on campus will be subject to disciplinary and criminal action. The College’s statutory obligations under federal law, which prohibits the possession and use of marijuana, prevails over New York State law, rules, or regulations that allow the use of medical marijuana under limited circumstances. The College Health Services will not be distributing medical marijuana nor will representatives be writing prescriptions for it.
Controlled Substances: New York State Law
The present prohibitions of the New York law include but are not limited to the following:
The distribution of any type of illicit or controlled substance and most particularly, the possession of illicit drug substances with the intent to distribute, can result in severe criminal prosecution which ranges in severity from a minimum of 8-25 years imprisonment up to and including a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The gradation of sanctions for the illegal use, distribution, or possession of illegal drugs and narcotics varies greatly. The Penal Code of New York State on illicit use of drugs and other controlled substances is extensive. However, students should be aware that legal sanctions related to the illicit use, possession or distribution of drugs will be severe in nature and are determined not only by the type and amount of drugs in question, but also whether or not the individual has any record of prior convictions.
Loss of Eligibility in Federal Assistance
A student who is convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance while enrolled in an institution of higher education and receiving any federal financial aid (e.g. grant, loan, or work assistance) will lose his/her eligibility for such federal assistance according to the following schedule:
- If convicted of an offense involving possession of controlled substances, the ineligibility period is:
- If convicted of an offense involving sale of a controlled substance, the ineligibility period is:
Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Education
Union College provides educational programs and activities that are designed to provide information about the effects of alcohol and illicit drug use on the individual and on the life of the community. Personal responsibility and accountability as well as familiarity with New York State law on alcohol and drug abuse is emphasized. Every student who intends to serve as a designated server at Chet’s or any other event on campus is required to participate in a social host training program. Educational programming begins with New Student Orientation and is further promoted by joint programming (lectures and speakers in a variety of venues) sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and various student organizations as well as the Office of Residential Life. Students found in violation of the Alcohol and Drug Policy may be required to meet with the Health Educator to discuss the student’s use and abuse of substances.
In addition to the information found in this publication, additional information on the potential hazards of illicit drug use and alcohol abuse can be obtained in Health Services and the Counseling Center.
Health Risks of Drug and Alcohol Use
Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair judgment and coordination. Statistics show that alcohol use is involved in a majority of violent behaviors on college campuses, including, sexual assault, vandalism, physical and verbal fights and incidents of drinking and driving. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, 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 effect just described. Alcohol combined with other drugs, even over-the-counter and prescribed medication, can cause a variety of effects including, but not limited to, respiratory depression, cardiac arrest, and death.
Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.
Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2011 – 2015, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. In addition, the Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason.
Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems; Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon; Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance; Mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety; Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment; Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism. By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.
Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and disease in the United States. Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, including cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco contain the addictive drug nicotine.
Nicotine is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, stimulating the central nervous system and increasing blood pressure, respiration and heart rate. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, attention difficulties, sleep disturbances, increased appetite and powerful cravings.
In addition to nicotine, tobacco smoke contains a mixture of chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, tar, formaldehyde, and cyanide. These chemicals increase the risk of developing various types of cancer, emphysema, and cardiovascular and heart diseases.
Gaining in popularity, e-cigarettes and vapes are battery operated devices that produce flavored nicotine vapor. Research shows that e-cigarette vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals; however, the long-term health consequences of e-cigarette or vape use remain unknown.
The health effects associated with cocaine use include elevated body temperature and blood pressure, increased heart rate, nausea, tremors and muscle twitches, and restlessness. Snorting cocaine may severely damage nasal tissue and the septum and cause the loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, and a frequent runny nose. Long-term health effects of cocaine use include malnourishment due to decreased appetite, paranoia and hallucinations, and movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Amphetamines, methamphetamine, or other stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Larger doses cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, and physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, high fever, heart failure, and death. An individual using amphetamines might begin to lose weight, sweat profusely, and appear restless, anxious, moody, and unable to focus. Extended use may produce psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
Hallucinogenic drugs alter perception, thoughts, and feelings and can cause hallucinations. Commonly used hallucinogens include LSD,PCP, Peyote, and psilocybin (“shrooms”), salvia, and others. Short-term effects include increased heart rate, intensified feelings and sensory experiences, dry mouth, sleep problems, excessive sweating, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. Long-term effects of some hallucinogens include persistent psychosis and flashbacks.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to male sex hormones. Some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance. Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious health problems, some of which are irreversible. Short term side effects include depression, hallucinations, paranoia, severe mood swings and aggressive behavior. Major side effects can also include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, kidney tumors, severe acne, and trembling. In males, side effects may include shrinking of the testicles and breast development. In females, side effects may include growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice. In teenagers, growth may be halted prematurely and permanently.
Some signs of heroin use are euphoria, excessive drowsiness, constricted pupils, lack of sex drive and appetite and nausea. Because heroin is generally injected, the use of contaminated needles may result in the contraction of many different diseases, including AIDS and hepatitis. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping and liver or kidney disease. If chronic use is abruptly stopped, the user may experience severe withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes and kicking movements. Users also experience severe craving for the drug during withdrawal, which often precipitates continued abuse and/or relapse. Symptoms of overdose include shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, and coma and may result in death.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, and marijuana use may have a wide range of health effects on the body and brain.
About 1 in 10 marijuana users may experience some form of addiction. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6. People who are addicted to marijuana may also be at a higher risk of other negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning. Some people who are addicted may need to smoke more and more marijuana to get the same high. It is also important to be aware that the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana (i.e., marijuana potency or strength) has increased over the past few decades. The higher the THC content, the stronger the effects on the brain. In addition, some methods of using marijuana (e.g., dabbing, edibles) may deliver very high levels of THC to the user.
In many cases, marijuana is smoked in the form of hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), in pipes or water pipes (bongs), in bowls, or in blunts—emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. Smoked marijuana, in any form, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can also lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. These symptoms generally improve when marijuana smokers quit.
Marijuana use, especially frequent (daily or near daily) use and use in high doses, can cause disorientation, and sometimes cause unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Marijuana use is associated with temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations and paranoia) and long-lasting mental health challenges, including schizophrenia (a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that aren’t really there).
Marijuana use has also been linked to depression and anxiety, and suicide among teens. However, it is not known whether this is a causal relationship or simply an association.
People who use MDMA usually take it as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. The popular nickname Molly (slang for “molecular”) often refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules. However, people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”) instead. Some people take MDMA in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or marijuana.
MDMA increases the activity of three brain chemicals:
- Dopamine - produces increased energy/activity and acts in the reward system to reinforce behaviors Norepinephrine - increases heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems
- Serotonin - affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions. It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by those who use MDMA.
Other health effects include:
- Muscle cramping,
- Involuntary teeth clenching,
- Blurred vision,
- Chills, and
MDMA’s effects last about 3 to 6 hours, although many users take a second dose as the effects of the first dose begin to fade. Over the course of the week following moderate use of the drug, a person may experience irritability, impulsiveness and aggression, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, memory and attention problems, decreased appetite, and decreased interest in and pleasure from sex. It’s possible that some of these effects may be due to the combined use of MDMA with other drugs, especially marijuana.
High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.
Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but they can be misused.
Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells located in many areas of the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. This release can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug, making the user want to repeat the experience.
In the short term, opioids can relieve pain and make people feel relaxed and happy. However, opioids can also have harmful effects, including drowsiness, confusion, nausea, constipation, euphoria, and slowed breathing. Opioid misuse can cause slowed breathing, which can cause hypoxia, a condition that results when too little oxygen reaches the brain. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma, permanent brain damage, or death. Researchers are also investigating the long-term effects of opioid addiction on the brain, including whether damage can be reversed.
People addicted to an opioid medication who stop using the drug can have severe withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps, uncontrollable leg movements, and severe cravings.
An opioid overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. When people overdose on an opioid medication, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, which can result in coma, permanent brain damage, or death.
If you suspect someone has overdosed, the most important step to take is to call 911 so he or she can receive immediate medical attention. Once medical personnel arrive, they will administer naloxone. Naloxone is a medicine that can treat an opioid overdose when given right away. It works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of opioid drugs. Naloxone is available as an injectable (needle) solution, a hand-held auto- injector (EVZIO®), and a nasal spray (NARCAN® Nasal Spray).
Specific Dangers from Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault Drugs
There are three specific drugs that are commonly utilized in drug facilitated sexual assault: Rohypnol®, Ketamine, or GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid).
Rohypnol®, also known as flunitrazepam, is not approved in the United States, although it is available for use as a prescription sleep aid in other countries. It is most commonly found as a tablet which is consumed by dissolving it in a drink or swallowing it. The possible short term health effects include drowsiness, sedation, sleep, amnesia, blackout; decreased anxiety; muscle relaxation, impaired reaction time and motor coordination; impaired mental functioning and judgement; confusion; aggression; excitability; slurred speech; headache; slowed breathing and heart rate. When combined with alcohol the possible health effects include severe sedation, unconsciousness, and slowed heart rate and breathing, which can lead to death. At this point the long-term health effects of Rohypnol® are still unknown. Rohypnol® can take between 36- 72 hours to leave the body.
GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid)
GHB is a depressant approved for use in treatment of narcolepsy, and commonly goes by the other names of Goop, liquid ecstasy, and liquid X. It is most commonly found as a colorless liquid or white powder which is consumed through swallowing, often in combination with alcohol. The possible short term health effects include euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory loss, unconsciousness, slowed heart rate and breath, lower body temperature, seizures, coma, and death. In combination with alcohol the possible health effects include nausea, problems with breathing, and greatly increased depressant effects. At this point in time the long-time effects of GHB are unknown. GHB, unlike Rohypnol, leaves the body between 10-12 hours after consumption.
Ketamine is a dissociative drug used as a surgical anesthetic, an anesthetic in veterinary practice, and as a prescription for treatment resistant depression under strict medical supervision. It is most commonly found in liquid or white powder and is consumed through swallowing, smoking, snorting, or injections. The possible short term health effects include problems with attention, learning, and memory; dreamlike states, hallucinations; sedation; confusion; loss of memory; raised blood pressure, unconsciousness; and dangerously slowed breathing. If ketamine is consumed with alcohol there is a risk of adverse effects. The possible health effects associated with long term use include ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; and poor memory.
If an individual believes they or a friend have consumed Rohypnol®, GHB, or Ketamine they should visit a local healthcare facility that can care for survivors of sexual assault and provide a forensic exam. While receiving care the individual who has ingested the drug can request the hospital to take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing, if the individual cannot immediately go to a hospital they should save their urine in a clean, sealable container as soon as possible, and place it in the refrigerator or freezer for future toxicology testing.