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Drug Free Schools Policy Statement ​

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Drug-Free Schools, Campuses and Workplaces

Drug Use and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program

Student and Employees of Western Colorado University: The 2016-2017 Drug-Free Information is provided to you in compliance with federal law. If you have questions or require further information about the policies, health risks, legal sanctions, or treatment programs relating to illicit drugs and alcohol, please contact the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Human Resources, or the Campus Health Center (medical and mental health).

Western Colorado University is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of all employees, students, and other individuals in our workplace and campus community. Alcohol abuse and drug use can pose significant health, safety and well-being concerns within the Western working and learning environment.

  • There are many risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol, including physical and mental impairment, emotional and psychological deterioration, and devastating effects on family, friends, and co-workers. Obvious risks include being charged with driving under the influence, sustaining or causing personal injury, and suffering immediate health risks (hangovers, incapacitation, overdose, convulsions and death). A number of less obvious risks include poor job performance, jeopardizing future career prospects, unwanted and inappropriate sexual activity, slowed reaction times, short-term memory impairment, irritability and depression, and mental confusion. Information about the known effects of alcohol and specific drugs is available from many on-line sources, the Center for Mental Health and the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program (C-SEAP).
  • As a recipient of federal contracts and grants, Western is subject to federal laws and regulations with respect to drug and alcohol use in the workplace. The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that Western establish drug and alcohol policies and programs. In addition, former Colorado Governor Roy Romer issued Executive Order D000291 regarding Substance Abuse by State Employees.


The Trustees of Western Colorado University (WESTERN) hereby prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on the property or as part of the activities of WESTERN.


Students and employees who violate the foregoing standards of conduct shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions which may include, without limitation, completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, reprimand, probation, suspension from the University, expulsion from the University, corrective action, a fine, temporary adjustment of pay to a lower step in the assigned pay grade, demotion, reassignment with or without a salary adjustment, suspension with or without pay, and termination. Disciplinary sanctions shall be consistent with local, state and federal law and shall be administered in accordance with applicable student disciplinary procedures, state personnel system rules and procedures and WESTERN Handbook for Professional Personnel policies. In addition to the foregoing disciplinary sanctions, violations may be reported to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution.


A.  “Illicit drugs” shall mean controlled substances listed in Schedules I – V of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §812, and related federal regulations, 21 C.F.R. §§ 1308.11-1308.15, as they may be amended from time to time and title 18, article 18, §§ 203-207, of the Colorado Revised Statutes as it may be amended from time to time. “Illicit drugs” shall include controlled substance analogs as defined by federal and state law.

B.  “Alcohol” shall mean any beverage containing not less than 0.5% ethyl alcohol by weight.

C.  “Property” shall mean any property owned, leased, chartered or occupied by WESTERN including motor vehicles, boats and aircraft

D.  “Activities” shall mean any act or event sponsored or participated in by WESTERN, including ITS constituent administrative units and approved student organizations. Without limitation, “activities” shall include all intercollegiate and intramural athletic events, faculty, staff and student meetings, conferences, field trips, retreats and all other acts or events for which the Trustees or the University (including approved student organizations) pay expenses, or provide facilities, services, supplies or transportation. “Activities” shall not include incidental work- or study-related activities which students or employees perform in their personal, off-campus residences (e.g., studying, class preparation, writing or reading) or purely social events which are held off-campus and are organized or attended by students or employees solely in their personal capacities.


The University shall implement drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs which, at a minimum, meet the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, 20 U.S.C. §1145(g), and shall review their programs biennially to determine their effectiveness, implement changes if needed, and ensure that the sanctions authorized by this policy are consistently enforced.


This policy is supplemental to and does not supersede or repeal other related State or University policies, the State of Colorado Substance Abuse Policy promulgated by the Governor and Trustees, and institutional codes of professional and student conduct, adopted: August 18, 1990.

In accordance with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, WESTERN adopted the following policy on April13, 1989 to maintain a drug-free workplace:

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance in the workplace or a state-owned vehicle by employees of WESTERN is prohibited. As a term of his or her employment, every office of WESTERN shall:

  1. Abide by the terms of this Policy Statement; and
  2. Notify the appropriate personnel officer of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace or a state-owned vehicle no later than 5 days after such conviction. Any employee who violates the provisions of this Policy Statement shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include termination.

This policy prohibits you from using, possessing, distributing, dispensing or manufacturing a controlled substance in your workplace or in a state-owned vehicle. “Controlled substances” means drugs and substances listed in Schedules I-V of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 812 and related federal regulations, 21 C.F.R. §§ 1308.11 – 1308.15 as they may be amended from time to time and title 18, article 18, §§ 203-207, of the Colorado Revised Statutes as it may be amended from time to time. For purposes of the policy “controlled substances” includes controlled substance analogs as defined by federal and state law. (State and federal controlled substance schedules are available for inspection in your college personnel office.) “Employees” include professional personnel, classified staff and students employed in hourly, state, or federal work-study jobs. Marijuana use for recreational purposes is legal in the State of Colorado, however use, possession and storage on campus continues to be prohibited due to Federal Title IV funding obligations.

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, and unlawful or unauthorized use of alcohol by employees will result in disciplinary action (consistent with Western policies, and local, state and federal laws). While Colorado’s Constitution allows for the legal use of marijuana under certain circumstances, because of Western’s status as a federal contractor and grant recipient, and because marijuana use is still prohibited under federal law, the use of marijuana at work, or outside of work if it impairs an employee’s ability to perform his or her job, constitutes a violation of this policy.

You have agreed to abide by this policy as a term of your employment. If you violate this policy by unlawfully using, possessing, distributing, dispensing or manufacturing a controlled substance in the workplace or in a state-owned vehicle, you will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include termination of your employment.

If you are found guilty of, plead no contest to, or are sentenced for violating a state or federal criminal drug statute in the workplace or in a state-owned vehicle, you must report your conviction to the University personnel office within 5 days. If you fail to report a conviction for a criminal drug offense occurring in the workplace, you will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include termination of your employment.

If you are convicted of a criminal drug offense occurring in the workplace or in a state-owned vehicle, you will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include termination of your employment or, if warranted, satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

The dangers of abusing drugs in the workplace and the health risks associated with drug use are described elsewhere in this document.

Western recognizes alcohol or drug dependency are treatable conditions. Employees who suspect they have an alcohol or drug dependency problem are encouraged to seek assistance. Employees who are concerned about substance use, abuse, and rehabilitation are strongly encouraged to contact their family physicians, their health plan, or the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program. (C-SEAP contacts are confidential and free of charge to the employee.) Health insurance plans may provide coverage for substance abuse programs that address substance abuse and rehabilitation. The Office of Human Resources has information about the health plans. Additionally, the health plan documents can be found here.

Drug counseling, rehabilitation and assistance programs are listed below. As state employees, you may wish to contact the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program (C-SEAP) for counseling or additional information. C-SEAP handles all inquiries and requests confidentially. WESTERN employees should call C-SEAP at 800.821.8154 or 303.866.3000.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAMS Drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation or re-entry programs are available to employees and/or students through the following resources: 

Alcoholics Anonymous-Western Colorado

Campus Counseling Center
Crystal Hall 104
After Hours/On-Call 970.252.6220 (Center for Mental Health)

Campus Medical Health Center 
Tomichi Hall 104

Gunnison Valley Hospital
711 N. Taylor Street
Gunnison, CO 81230

On-line mental health resource
Payer Code: thecentergunnison

Narcotics Anonymous
800.912.4597 or 970.306.6535

The Center for Mental Health
710 N. Taylor
Gunnison, CO 81230

Project Hope
304 W. Tomichi Avenue, Suite 23
Gunnison, CO 81230
970.641.2712 / 24 Hour Hotline 970.275.1193

24-Hour Crisis Phone (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

24-Hour Mental Health Emergency Services

Victims Advocate

Western Prevention Education
Scott Cantril, Director of Student Health and Wellness
University Center 103

Colorado State Employees Assistance Program
303.866.4314 or 1.800.821.8154

For more information on counseling, support groups, and treatment providers, contact the Office of Student Affairs, Taylor Hall 301, 970.943.2232 or the LEAD Office, University Center 117, 970.943.2469.

This is a brief summary of some of the principal health risks and workplace hazards associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol. It is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. For more detailed information concerning the dangers of drugs and alcohol, you should consult your doctor or a drug and alcohol counselor.

Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) is a drug that, like the sedatives, depresses the central nervous system. Even small doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Drinking and driving is the leading cause of fatal automobile accidents. Alcohol use also contributes to many falls, drownings, other accidents and aggressive acts including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses severely impair muscular coordination, memory and judgment. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. Mixing alcohol with sedatives or other central nervous system depressants is extremely dangerous and often fatal. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to addiction. Withdrawal symptoms may be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol can also cause permanent and sometimes fatal damage to such vital organs as the heart, liver, pancreas and brain. Alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation (fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS) in children.


The dangers of using alcohol in the workplace include impaired coordination, concentration and judgment resulting in dangerous or problem behavior; inability to learn and remember information; excessive absenteeism and tardiness; increased workload and stress on others; and an inability to deal realistically with workplace problems.

Marijuana and its derivatives (dope, grass, weed, pot, mary jane, reefer, smoke, hash, THC, etc.) affect the central nervous system. Immediate effects include altered perceptions and time sense, increased heart rate, lower body temperature, a dry mouth and throat, bloodshot eyes and increased appetite. Coordination, short-term memory, concentration and retention of knowledge are impaired. Users often experience acute anxiety reactions. Long-term use can lead to psychological dependence, paranoia and psychosis, lung damage including cancer, and “burnout” (impaired motivation, cognition, concentration and attention).


The dangers of using marijuana in the workplace include impaired perceptions of time, space and distance and slowed physical reflexes which make operating machinery or driving hazardous and interference with tasks requiring learning, memory and concentration.

Inhalants (aerosol sprays, solvents, nitrous oxide, laughing gas, amyl and butyl nitrite, poppers, snappers, rush, bullet and climax, etc.) are substances which release toxic or mind-altering vapors. Immediate effects include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleed, fatigue, lack of coordination and lack of appetite. Aerosol sprays and solvents decrease heart and respiratory rates and impair judgment. Amyl and butyl nitrite cause rapid pulse, headaches and involuntary excretion. Long-term use or use of large amounts of inhalants over a short time can result in disorientation, violent behavior, hepatitis, organ and nervous system damage, coma and death. Use during pregnancy endangers the fetus.


The dangers of using inhalants in the workplace include impaired judgment, coordination and decision-making that adversely affect job safety and job performance.

Cocaine (coke, blow, snow, flake, white, lady, nose candy, crack, rock, base) stimulates the central nervous system, elevates blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature and depresses appetite. Inhaling cocaine can cause a stuffy or runny nose; chronic use ulcerates nasal mucus membranes. AIDS and hepatitis may result from sharing needles. Tolerance develops rapidly and physical and psychological dependency frequently results. Crack is extremely addictive. Use of cocaine and crack may cause fatal heart attacks and respiratory failure, lung damage, seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, severe depression and psychoses. Use during pregnancy endangers the fetus.


The dangers of using cocaine and crack in the workplace include impaired judgment and decision-making ability, mood swings, emotional problems, and undependability—all of which adversely affect job safety and job performance. Cocaine and crack use also contribute to an increased risk of workplace crime.

Stimulants (amphetamines, methamphetamines, speed, uppers, black beauties, hearts, benzedrine, methedrine, crystal meth, crank, etc.) arouse the central nervous system, elevate blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates, decrease appetite and increase alertness. Other immediate and short-term effects include sweating, headache, blurred vision, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety and depression. High doses can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, coordination loss, collapse, stroke, and heart failure. AIDS and hepatitis may result from sharing needles. Long-term use can lead to amphetamine psychosis including hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.


The dangers of using stimulants in the workplace include impaired vision, judgment, coordination and reflexes, adversely affecting job safety and job performance. Users may become careless because they overestimate their capabilities or because of fatigue resulting from insomnia or hyperactivity. Anxiety, restlessness and irritability can interfere with relationships among employees and hinder job performance.

Depressants (barbs, downers, reds, yellows, ludes, 714s, valium, etc.) are drugs including barbiturates, tranquilizers and sedative-hypnotics which depress the central nervous system, calm anxiety, relax muscles, reduce heart rate, slow breathing and lower blood pressure. Larger doses may cause slurred speech, staggering gait, lack of coordination, drowsiness, confusion and altered perceptions. Using depressants with alcohol is very dangerous because each reinforces the other’s depressant effect on the nervous system. Regular use of depressants leads to tolerance, larger doses and physical and psychological dependence. Overdoses may be fatal. Withdrawal symptoms range from restlessness, insomnia and anxiety to convulsions and death. Children born to mothers who abuse depressants during pregnancy may become physically dependent on the drug and undergo withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth. They may also suffer from birth defects and behavioral problems.


The dangers of using depressants in the workplace include impaired coordination, reflexes, concentration and judgment leading to accidents and poor performance of tasks requiring dexterity, alertness or mental acuity.

Hallucinogens (LSD, acid, PCP, angel dust, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, mushrooms, etc.) affect perception, sensations, thinking, self-awareness and emotions. Physical effects include elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, sweating, depressed appetite, nausea, insomnia and tremors. Psychological effects include altered perceptions, hallucinations, severe panic reactions, loss of control, psychotic episodes and “flashbacks.” PCP use blocks pain receptors and may result in violence and self-inflicted injuries as well as incoherent speech and impaired coordination. Chronic PCP use leads to persistent memory problems, speech difficulties, mood disorders, paranoia, violent behavior and hallucinations. Because hallucinogens distort perceptions and judgment, they increase the likelihood of accidents and suicide attempts.


The dangers of using hallucinogens in the workplace include accidents caused by distorted perceptions and judgment, violence toward other employees and an inability to perform tasks requiring alertness, mental acuity and sound judgment.

Narcotics (heroin, smack, horse, skag, junk, brown sugar, black tar, demerol, dilaudid, morphine, opium, paregoric, codeine, fentanyl percodan, talwin, etc.) initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, watery eyes, and itching. Narcotics have a high potential for abuse because tolerance develops quickly and addiction is likely. Withdrawal symptoms are often debilitating. Overdoses produce shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma and death. Long-term health risks include organ damage. AIDS and hepatitis may result from sharing needles. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.


The dangers of using narcotics in the workplace include disinterest in workplace safety, severely impaired job performance and an increased risk of workplace crime.

Designer drugs are chemical analogs of narcotics, amphetamines and PCP. Some common designer drugs are synthetic heroin, china white and new heroin (narcotic analogs); MDMA or Ecstasy, STP, and DMA (amphetamine analogs); and PCPs and PCE (PCP analogs). Designer drugs are frequently several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Amphetamine analogs have some stimulant effects, but are primarily hallucinogens. They have the same adverse effects as stimulants and hallucinogens including nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, faintness, anxiety, depression and paranoia. As little as one dose can cause severe neurochemical brain damage. Narcotic analogs have the same adverse effects as narcotics and can cause Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms including uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis and irreversible brain damage. PCP analogs have the same adverse effects as PCP including impaired perception, delusions and hallucinations.


Refer to “Stimulants,” “Hallucinogens” and “Narcotics”.

Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco) contains nicotine, a stimulant that causes elevated heart rates and blood pressure. Nicotine is extremely addictive. Tobacco also contains cancer-causing tars and other chemicals. When smoked, tobacco produces carbon monoxide, which reduces the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity and can contribute to hardening of the arteries. Short-term effects include nose, throat and eye irritation. Long-term effects of tobacco use include heart disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung and other cancers.


The dangers of using tobacco in the workplace include increased fire danger, exposure of other employees to the health risks of second-hand smoke and friction between smoking and nonsmoking employees.

Anabolic steroids (roids, juice etc.) are a synthetic male hormone used by some athletes to build muscle bulk and strength. In men, adverse effects include withered testicles, impotence, sterility, baldness and development of female-like breasts. In women, adverse effects include menstrual irregularities, enlargement of the clitoris and irreversible development of masculine traits. Both sexes risk developing severe acne, liver abnormalities, liver and other cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Psychological effects in both sexes include depression, very aggressive behavior known as “roid rage” and, occasionally, psychotic episodes.

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