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HR policy - Drug-free workplace policy

Drug abuse and dependency is a national social and health problem, with devastating consequences to individuals, their friends, and family. UWL is concerned about the adverse effects of drug abuse on employee job performance, health, safety, and campus security.
 Functional Owner Chief Human Resources Officer
 Executive Sponsors Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
 Policy Contact Assistant Director for Talent Management, Human Resources

Who this policy applies to:
All employees, including student help. 

Drug abuse and dependency is a national social and health problem, with devastating consequences to individuals, their friends, and family. UWL is concerned about the adverse effects of drug abuse on employee job performance, health, safety, and campus security.

Policy Detail:

Drug abuse and dependency is a national social and health problem, with devastating consequences to individuals, their friends, and family. UWL is concerned about the adverse effects of drug abuse on employee job performance, health, safety, and campus security.

The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 requires educational institutions to conduct a biennial review of their program to determine its effectiveness and to ensure that the disciplinary sanctions described are consistently enforced. 

The following UWL policies, in accordance with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act and Wisconsin Administrative Code and Wisconsin Statutes, are intended to foster a drug-free, healthful, and safe work environment for all.

UW-La Crosse Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

The purpose of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse policy statement is to give the general parameters within which various campus units may formulate rules and regulations. Rules and regulations formulated by units must be consistent with this general policy statement. Examples of units are Residence Life, Student Centers, and Athletics.

It is illegal to procure for, sell, dispense, or give away alcohol to anyone who has not reached the legal drinking age of 21 years. Section 125.07(1)(a)(1), Stats. Every adult has a legal obligation to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol on premises owned by the adult or under the adult's control. Section 125.07(1)(a)(3), Stats

 Chapter 18.09(1)(a)(b) and (c) of the University of Wisconsin Administration Code contains this provision:

Alcohol Beverages -  the use or possession of alcoholic beverages (fermented malt beverages and intoxicating liquors containing 0.5% or more of alcohol by volume) is prohibited on all University premises, except as permitted by the chief administrative officer, subject to statutory age restrictions. The chief administrative officer may generally permit the use or possession of alcohol beverages by promulgating institutional regulations as provided under Administrative Code (UWS 18.09) or in specific instances by written permission.

No person may procure, sell, dispense, or give away alcohol beverages to any person contrary to the provisions of Chapter 125, Stats.

The University Of Wisconsin System Board Of Regents has adopted this position statement regarding the use of alcohol beverages: 
"The abuse of alcohol on the campuses of the University system is a matter of significant concern because it interferes with the education of students and the job performance of faculty and staff. The most effective ways to deal with issues of alcohol abuse in the University community are educational and supportive in nature designed to affect attitudinal and behavioral change."

General University Overview

Universities, because of their educational missions, need to provide leadership on issues concerning society. The use and abuse of drugs including alcohol, is one such issue which the University should establish a leadership role.

Social and educational philosophy prescribes the responsible decision making process in the consumption of alcoholic beverages by those individuals of legal age. For responsible decisions to occur education needs to be emphasized. This education needs to include knowledge of the effects of alcohol and facilitate the ability to behave in ways which promote a healthy life-style. Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse share the responsibility for informing the campus about alcohol. A complete alcohol education program should include alcohol awareness activities, alcohol information and resource center, alcohol and health promotion workshops, a student oriented group, academic courses, an advisory committee, counseling and referral, training and supervision, and research and evaluation.

General Policies

  1. Alcohol dependency is a treatable disease that touches all members of the University community in some way. Since alcohol dependency is a disease, the University should be an active participant in its prevention through education as well as assisting people in dealing with this disease.

  2. The misuse and abuse of alcoholic beverages results in behaviors deemed negative to the University community. The University should take an active role in identification and mitigation of such behaviors. Moreover, the University must take a proactive role in reducing the number of individuals who progress from use to misuse and lastly to abuse.

  3. If alcohol is to be consumed, it should be in moderation. The consumption of alcohol should never be the purpose or main reason for the gathering of a group of people. Gatherings which feature "all you can drink" are actively discouraged by this University. Further, events which may remove choice as to whether or not to consume alcohol are forbidden by this University.

  4. Alcohol shall not be given as a reward for achievement at this University. Serving of alcohol shall be limited on campus. Promotions which encourage alcohol consumption should be actively discouraged and not allowed if the promotion encourages alcohol abuse and places an emphasis on quantity and frequency of use.
  5. Local off-campus promotional activities which promote the use of alcohol primarily directed to students will be actively discouraged.
  6. Since most case law rejects the doctrine of in loco parentis to explain the University's relationship with its students, this University will not police the private behavior of students. However, the University expects that students will obey the law and should take personal responsibility for their conduct.
  7. This University will not police the personal lives of members of the campus community, on or off-campus, by invading their privacy or intrusive searches. However, the campus security unit, which has law enforcement functions, will detain personnel in accordance with appropriate legal procedures when dealing with drug and alcohol related incidents. The basic principle here is that the campus is not an island in the community which is immune from law enforcement.

  8. When alcohol misuse and/or abuse is apparent within the University community the individual will be confronted and referred for assessment. Based upon this assessment, the appropriate educational and treatment options will be presented. If the behavior persists, which threatens disorder, public disturbances; danger to the individual or property damage, the normal University conduct codes will be enforced.

  9. The focal point for assistance to those who have an alcohol or alcohol related problem is the Alcohol Education Program. The educational program includes:
    • Programs which create an awareness of the nature and effect of drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and other substances which inhibit personal health and academic/work performance.
    • Learning opportunities to develop coping skills for responding to problem situations which lead to substance abuse.
    • Assessment services for determining the extent of abuse or dependency on a substance and informing the individual of various intervention options, including community service.
    • Developmental counseling services for students to examine the reasons for their substance abuse and to explore non-drug alternatives.
    • Ongoing training programs for University support staff to identify potential abusers, constructively confront abusive behavior, and refer to the proper assessment and intervention services.
  10. University employees are required to follow University policy in serving alcoholic beverages on campus as a host. This includes student employees as well as faculty, academic staff, and classified personnel.
  11. Public/Private Service of Alcohol: alcohol use occurs in a number of settings at UW-La Crosse. Differentiation has been made between private and public service of alcoholic beverages. Private service includes use at a private party, reception, or cocktail hour prior to a banquet. Public service includes serving alcohol at an event open to all members of the campus community and may include the consumption of alcohol in a public area on campus (Wetlands). Whenever alcohol is sold or served at a private or public event on campus, it shall be done through the licensed food service coordinator

    • A private gathering should provide a controlled environment and alcohol consumption should not be the primary purpose for the gathering. Hors d'oeuvres and other snack food must be served and nonalcoholic alternatives must be available. These gatherings will be confined in length to a maximum of two hours unless prior approval is received for a longer time period.
    • When alcohol is served at an open/public event, an informational component of usage should be available.
  12. Drugs, Other Than Alcohol - The use or possession of controlled substance as defined in Chapter 961.495, Wis. Stats,  is prohibited on all University property except as expressly permitted by law or university policy

UW-La Crosse Standards of Conduct and University Sanctions Concerning Illicit Drugs and Alcohol

The University of Wisconsin System and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse prohibit the unlawful possession, use, distribution, manufacture, or dispensing of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on University property or as part of university activities.

The use or possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on University premises, except in faculty and staff housing and as expressly permitted by the chief administrative officer or under institutional regulations, in accordance with  UWS 18.09, Wis. Adm. Code. Without exception, alcohol consumption and procurement are governed by Wisconsin statutory age restrictions under  UWS 18.09, Wis. Adm. Code.

The unlawful use, possession distribution, manufacture, or dispensing of illicit drugs ("controlled substances" as defined in ch. 961, Wis. Stats.) is prohibited in accordance with UWS 18.09, Wis. Adm. Code.

Violation of these provisions by a student may lead to the imposition of a disciplinary sanction, up to and including suspension or expulsion, under s. UWS 17.09, Wis. Adm. Code. University employees are also subject to disciplinary sanctions for violation of these provisions occurring on University property or the worksite or during work time, up to and including termination from employment. Disciplinary sanctions are initiated and imposed in accordance with applicable procedural requirements and work rules, as set forth in Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules faculty and academic staff policies, and collective bargaining agreements. Referral for prosecution under criminal law is also possible. Further, violations of UWS 18.09, Wis. Adm. Code may result in additional penalties as allowed underch. UWS 18, Wis. Adm. Code.

Employees who are convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify their dean, director, or department chair within 5 days of the conviction if the employees are employed by the University at the time of the conviction. The dean, director, or department chair will immediately notify the Office of Human Resources of any employee convictions to ensure any further action/notification is made.

State of Wisconsin Legal Sanctions

The Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Chapter 961 of the Wisconsin Statutes regulates controlled substances and outlines specific penalties for the violation of the regulations. Penalties vary according to the type of drug involved, the amount of drug confiscated, the number of previous convictions, and the presence of any aggravating factors. The distribution of a controlled substance to a minor can lead to additional penalties according to Section 961.46, Wisc. Stats.

Wisconsin has formidable legal sanctions that restrict the use of alcohol in various situations. It is illegal to procure for, sell, dispense, or give away alcohol to anyone who has not reached the legal drinking age of 2l years. Section 125.07(l)(a)(1), Wisc. Stats. Every adult has a legal obligation to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol on premises owned by the adult or under the adult's control. Section 125.07(l)(a)(3), Wisc. Stats. A first-time violator of either of the above subsections can be fined up to $500. It is against the law for an underage person to procure or attempt to procure an alcoholic beverage, to falsely represent his or her age for the purpose of obtaining alcohol, to enter premises licensed to sell alcohol, or to consume or possess alcohol on licensed premises. Section 125.07(4)(a). Wisc. Stats. A first-time underage violator of Section 125.07(4)(bs). Wisc. Stats., can be fined up to $500, ordered to participate in a supervised work program, and have their driver's license suspended.  

Federal Legal Sanctions

Pursuant to federal law, the United States Sentencing Guidelines establish mandatory minimum penalties for categories of drug offenses and provide for penalty enhancements in specific cases. Under these federal guidelines, courts can sentence a person for up to 6 years for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, including the distribution of a small amount (less than 250 grams) of marijuana; a sentence of life imprisonment can result from a conviction of possession of a controlled substance that results in death or bodily injury; and, possession of more than 5 grams of cocaine can trigger an intent to distribute penalty of 10-16 years in prison.

Federal Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of Controlled Substances

21 U.S.C. 844(a)

    • 1st conviction: Up to 1 year imprisonment and fined at least 51,000, but not more than $100,000, or both.
    • After 1 prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fined at least $2,500, but not more than $250,000, or both.
    • After 2 or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and fined at least $5,000, but not more than $250,000, or both.
    • Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory at least 5 years in prison, not to exceed 20 years and fined up to $250,000 or both, if: (a) 1st conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams; (b) 2nd crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams; or (c) 3rd or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 1 gram.

21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7)

    • Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1 year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions re: crack cocaine above.

21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4)

    •  Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. 862

Denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses.

18 U.S.C. 922(g)

    • Ineligible to purchase, receive, or transport a firearm.


    • Revocation of certain Federal licenses and benefits, e.g. pilot licenses, public housing tenancy etc., are vested within the authorities of individual Federal agencies.

Federal Penalties for Illegal Trafficking of Controlled Substances

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, is a consolidation of numerous federal laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of controlled substances. The CSA places all controlled substances into one of five schedules depending upon the substance's medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. The CSA provides penalties for the unlawful manufacturing and distribution of controlled substances. The U.S. Department of Justice publication, Drugs of Abuse, 2011 Editionprovide an overview of the penalties for trafficking of controlled substances.

Summary of the Health Effects of the Use and Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol

The following is a partial list of drugs and the consequences of their use. The abuse of alcohol and the use of other drugs is detrimental to the health of the user. Further, the use of drugs and alcohol is not conducive to an academic atmosphere. Drugs impede the learning process and can cause disruption for other students and disturb their academic interests. The use of alcohol or drugs in the workplace may also impede the employee's ability to perform in a safe and effective manner, and may result in injuries to others. Early diagnosis and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse is in the best interests of the student, employee, and the University. (For additional information concerning the health risks associated with substances covered by the Controlled Substances Act, refer the U.S. Department of Justice publication, Drugs of Abuse, 2011 edition.)


Alcohol is the most frequently abused drug on campus and in society. Alcohol is chemically classified as a mind-altering drug because it contains ethanol and has the chemical power to depress the action of the central nervous system. This depression affects motor coordination, speech, and vision. In great amounts, it can affect respiration and heart rate control. Death can result when the level of blood alcohol exceeds 0.400/0. Prolonged abuse of alcohol can lead to alcoholism, malnutrition, and cirrhosis.

Anabolic Steroids

Concerns over a growing illicit market and prevalence of abuse combined with the possibility of long-term effects of steroid use, led Congress to place anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Although the adverse effects of large doses of multiple anabolic steroids are not well established, there is increasing evidence of serious health problems associated with the abuse of these agents, including cardiovascular damage, liver damage and damage to reproductive organs. Physical side effects include elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, severe acne, premature balding, reduced sexual function, and testicular atrophy. The CSA defines anabolic steroids as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids), that promotes muscle growth. Those commonly encountered on the illicit market include: boldenone (Equipoise), ethylestrenol (Maxibolin), fluoxymesterone (Halotestin), methandriol, methandrostenolone (Dianabol), methyltestosterone, nandrolone (Durabolin, Deca-Durabolin), oxandrolone (Anavar), oxymetholone (Anadrol), stanozolol (Winstrol), testosterone and trenbolone (Finajet).


Three drugs that come from cannabis-marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil-are currently distributed on the U.S. illicit market. These drugs are deleterious to the health and impair the short-term memory and comprehension of the user. When used, they alter the sense of time, and reduce the ability of the user to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination. They also increase the heart rate and appetite. Motivation and cognition can be altered, making acquisition and retaining of new information difficult. Long-term users may develop psychological dependence that can produce paranoia and psychos. Because cannabis products are usually inhaled as unfiltered smoke, they are damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system and have more cancer-causing agents than tobacco.


Depressants produce central nervous system depression. Depressants (i.e., barbiturates, benzodiazepines, glutethimide, methaqualone, and meprobamate) can cause physical and psychological dependence that can lead to respiratory depression, coma and death, especially when used in concert with alcohol. Withdrawal can lead to restlessness, insomnia, convulsions, and even death. Chloral hydrate, a hypnotic depressant, and alcohol constitute the infamous date rape drug or "Mickey Finn."


LSD, PCP, mescaline, and peyote are classified as hallucinogens. Hallucinogens interrupt the brain messages that control the intellect and keep instincts in check. Large doses can produce convulsions and coma, heart, and lung failure. Chronic users complain of persistent memory problems and speech difficulties for up to a year after their use. Because the drug stops the brain's pain sensors, drug experiences may result in severe self-inflicted injuries. Persistent memory problems and speech difficulties may linger.


The term narcotic derives from the Greek work for stupor. Narcotic use is associated with a variety of unwanted effects including drowsiness, inability to concentrate, apathy, lessened physical activity, constriction of the pupils, dilation of the subcutaneous blood vessels causing flushing of the face and neck, constipation, nausea and vomiting and, most significantly, respiratory depression. With repeated use of narcotics, tolerance and dependence develop. Users of narcotics, such as heroin, codeine, morphine, and opium, are susceptible to overdose that can lead to convulsions, coma, and death.


Cocaine is the most potent stimulant of natural origin. "Crack" is the chunk form of cocaine that is a ready-to-use freebase. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system and are extremely addictive. They can cause psychological and physical dependency which can lead to dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, paranoia, and seizures. They can also cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.

The use of amphetamines and other stimulants can have the same effect as cocaine and cause increased heart rates and blood pressure that can result in a stroke or heart failure. Symptoms include dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety. They can also lead to hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis, and even a physical collapse.

Nicotine is highly addictive stimulant, whether ingested by smoking or chewing. This drug hits the brain in six seconds, and damages the lungs, decreases heart strength, and is associated with many types of cancers. The withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, progressive restlessness, irritability, and sleep disturbance.

Resources for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Awareness, Prevention and Treatment

 For Students and Employees

For Students only

For Employees only

The University of Wisconsin System provides information regarding UW-System policy at:

Revision history:
Last reviewed was July 2020

Supporting tools:


Links to related information:

Keywordsdrug-free workplace, alcohol use   Doc ID103683
OwnerCarri O.GroupUW-La Crosse
Created2020-07-07 13:08:58Updated2020-07-17 07:28:46
SitesUW-La Crosse
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