Skip to main content Skip to footer content

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Part 1: Policy Statement

Part 2: Code of Conduct

Part 3: Sanctions

Part 4: Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy

Part 5: Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Drugs

Part 6: Support Services and Treatment

 The Full CUNY Policy on Drugs and Alcohol is available here

  1. Policy Statement

    The City University of New York ( CUNY ) is an institution committed to promoting the physical, intellectual, and social development of all individuals. As such, CUNY seeks to prevent the abuse of drugs and alcohol, which can adversely impact performance and threaten the health and safety of students, employees, their families, and the general public. CUNY complies with all federal, state, and local laws concerning the unlawful possession, use, and distribution of drugs and alcohol.

    Federal law requires that CUNY adopt and implement a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees. As part of its program, CUNY has adopted this policy, which sets forth (1) the standards of conduct that students and employees are expected to follow; (2) CUNY sanctions for the violation of this policy; and (3) responsibilities of the CUNY colleges/units in enforcing this policy. CUNY's policy also (1) sets forth the procedures for disseminating the policy, as well as information about the health risks of illegal drug and alcohol use, criminal sanctions for such use, and available counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs, to students and employees; and (2) requires each college to conduct a biennial review of drug and alcohol use and prevention on its campus. This policy applies to all CUNY students, employees and visitors when they are on CUNY property, including CUNY residence halls, as well as when they are engaged in any CUNY-sponsored activities off campus.

  2. Code of Conduct

    The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of drugs or alcohol by anyone, on CUNY property (including CUNY residence halls), in CUNY buses or vans, or at CUNY-sponsored activities, is prohibited. In addition, CUNY employees are prohibited from illegally providing drugs or alcohol to CUNY students. Finally, no student may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in any CUNY residence hall, regardless of whether the student is of lawful age, except for students living in the Graduate School and University Center's graduate housing facilities who may lawfully possess and consume alcoholic beverages. For purposes of this policy, a CUNY residence hall means a residence hall owned and/or operated by CUNY, or operated by a private management company on CUNY's behalf. In order to make informed choices about the use of drugs and alcohol, CUNY students and employees are expected to familiarize themselves with the information provided by CUNY about the physiological, psychological, and social consequences of substance abuse.

    In addition, the college expects all members of the college community to comply with all federal, state, and local laws pertaining to the possession, use, manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of alcohol and drugs.
  3. Sanctions
    Employees and students who violate this policy are subject to sanctions under University policies, procedures and collective bargaining agreements, as described below. Employees and students should be aware that, in addition to these CUNY sanctions, the University will contact appropriate law enforcement agencies if they believe that a violation of the policy should also be treated as a criminal matter.

    Students are expected to comply with the CUNY and college policies with respect to drugs and alcohol. Any student found in violation may be subject to disciplinary action under Article 15 of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees, which may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University. In addition, any student who resides in a CUNY residence hall and who is found to have violated any CUNY or college policy with respect to drugs and alcohol may be subject to sanctions under the CUNY Residence Hall Disciplinary Procedures, up to and including expulsion from the residence hall. In lieu of formal disciplinary action, CUNY may, in appropriate cases, seek to resolve the matter through an agreement pursuant to which the student must see a counselor or successfully participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program. In accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act ( FERPA ), CUNY may also choose when appropriate to contact parents or legal guardians of students who have violated the CUNY policy on drugs and alcohol.

  1. Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy

    1. The City University of New York's ("CUNY's") Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy's purpose is to encourage students to seek medical assistance related to drug and alcohol use without fear of being disciplined for such use. Because the use of drugs or alcohol may be life-threatening, CUNY wishes to reduce barriers to seeking and receiving medical help in those situations. In addition, CUNY wishes to encourage students who may be the victims of or witnesses to sexual harassment or sexual violence while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to seek medical assistance and to report that sexual assault. Toward that end, CUNY's Policy is that students who seek medical assistance either for themselves or others will not be subject to discipline under the circumstances described below.
    2. Students who call for medical assistance for themselves or others and/or who receive medical assistance as a result of a call will not be disciplined for the consumption of alcohol (either if underage or if consumed in a CUNY-owned or operated building/facility where alcohol consumption is prohibited) or drugs under certain conditions. First, the students involved must agree to timely completion of assigned alcohol and/or drug education activities, assessment, and/or treatment, to be determined by the individual campuses or units of CUNY with which the students are affiliated. Second, there must be no other violations that ordinarily would subject the student to disciplinary action. Other violations that would invoke discipline include but are not limited to (i) unlawful distribution of alcohol or drugs; (ii) sexual assault; (iii) sexual harassment; (iv) causing or threatening physical harm; (v) causing damage to property; (vi) hazing.
    3. If students are involved in repeated incidents, the availability of medical amnesty to those students is at the discretion of the campus or unit with which the students are affiliated. Even if medical amnesty is granted to those students, repeated incidents raise issues of medical concern and may result in parental notification, medical withdrawal, and/or other non-disciplinary responses.
    4. Failure to complete required alcohol and/or drug education activities, assessment and/or treatment by the deadline may result in a revocation of medical amnesty.
    5. V. CUNY's Policy is intended to complement New York State's Good Samaritan Law, which is designed to encourage individuals to call 911 in the event of an alcohol or drug-related emergency. Generally, this law protects persons who witness or suffer from a medical emergency involving drugs or alcohol from being arrested or prosecuted for drug or underage alcohol possession after they call 911. It does not protect against arrest or prosecution for other offenses, such as the sale of drugs. For more information on New York's Good Samaritan Law, see N.Y. Public Health L. 3000-a, 3000-b, 3013 (McKinney 2000); see also NY State Assembly website database of law.
  2. Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs

    The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Academic Life

    Drug and alcohol use on college campuses is universal. Students articulate many reasons why they do it, but most neglect to consider both the long-term and [short-term] consequences of their actions. How wide-spread is drug and alcohol abuse? Teenagers today admit to extensive experimentation. According to one study, 90 percent of teens said that they have used alcohol, over 50 percent have used marijuana, 17 percent have used cocaine and 13 percent have used some form of hallucinogenic drug. Drug use has been classified as a major problem of students as early as in the fourth grade. Consequently, it is no surprise that substance use is prolific on college campuses, where many young adults are free from adult supervision for the first time in their lives.

    Alcohol use accounts for over 100,000 deaths per year in [the United States]. It contributes to over 50 percent of all suicides, violent crimes, emergency room admissions, traffic accidents, substandard job performances and industrial accidents, and 80 percent of all domestic violence incidents. You may falsely believe that you are safe because you live in the small community of [Largo, MD] and that these issues don t really affect you. To be more specific, how can drug and alcohol abuse affect a healthy young college student like you? The statistics are staggering:

    • Drug and alcohol abuse is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24
    • 95% of all college campus violence is related to alcohol
    • 28% of all college dropouts are alcoholics and 40% of all college students having academic problems abuse alcohol
    • Over 60% of all college women who have contracted [sexually transmitted diseases] were intoxicated at the time that they were infected

    So why do college students continue to drink and use drugs?

    Some feel pressured to use drugs or alcohol at social gatherings either because everyone else seems to be doing it, or because they believe it's the cool thing to do. Others believe that drug or alcohol abuse offers a way to escape from school or work-related stress, financial worries or relationship problems. Some feel that alcohol or drugs provide a way to compensate for feelings of shyness or low self-esteem. Sometimes, these drugs act as a substitute for satisfying relationships, educational accomplishments or self-fulfillment.

    College students often forget why they are supposed to be in school. Is the purpose of university life to party all the time or to get the most out of the learning environment? Substance abuse can seriously affect academic performance. Aside from long-term addiction (or possible emptying your bank account) it can cause grades to plummet. How? Substance use affects your entire body, including your brain, in a variety of ways. Judgment is often the first attribute to be affected. You may find it difficult to make good decisions, to make them quickly or to be realistic when you make them. Suddenly, it becomes much easier to wait until the last minute to cram for that exam or to crank out that paper. You may also find yourself having difficulty concentrating and paying attention, especially when you are in class or trying to study. Nutritional deficits can result from extended or heavy substance use, and these deficiencies can affect your attention, concentration and ability to get along with others, as well as lead to memory loss and difficulty coping with everyday stressors.

    Even if you think that these long-term effects of substance abuse don t apply to you, think about how much study time you have lost because you were out partying all night and were too hung-over the next day to go to class or to work on your lab report. Are you worried that substance abuse may be affecting you, your grades or your relationship? Have you noticed that your grades are dropping? Are classes that used to be enjoyable now very difficult or tedious? Does it seem that you never have enough time to study or get your assignments done, yet you are always at every party? You may want to consider how substance abuse could be affecting your academic performance.

    What is drug abuse?

    Drug abuse, also called substance abuse or chemical abuse, is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems or distress. It affects more than 7% of people at some point in their lives. Teens are increasingly engaging in prescription drug abuse, particularly narcotics (which are prescribed to relieve severe pain), and stimulant medications, which treat conditions like attention deficit disorder.

    What is drug addiction?

    Drug addiction, also called substance dependence or chemical dependency, is a disease that is characterized by a destructive pattern of drug abuse that leads to significant problems involving tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, as well as other problems that use of the substance can cause for the sufferer, either socially or in terms of their work or school performance. More than 2.6% of people suffer from drug addiction at some time in their life.

    What is a "drink"?

    In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in: 
    12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content) 
    8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content) 
    5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content) 
    1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

    What is excessive drinking?

    Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

    Binge drinking, the most common form of drinking, is defined as consuming:
    For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
    For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.

    Heavy drinking is defined as consuming:
    For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
    For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

    Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.

    What are the dangers associated with alcohol use?

    Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.

    Short-Term Health Risks

    Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

    Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.
    Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
    Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.
    Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
    Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.

    Long-Term Health Risks

    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 problems, 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.

    Effects of Drugs
    Drug Abuse
    Alcohol Use

    For more information on the science of drug abuse and addiction visit

    For more information on signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse visit

  3. Support Services and Treatment

    While substance abuse is a serious problem that can affect your academic, personal and professional life very seriously, it is also a treatable problem. Many sources are available to provide you with the help you or a friend may need. Counseling and Psychological Services, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, your local spiritual leader or your family doctor can all provide you with the information needed to obtain the services that are best suited to your needs.

    On Campus Resources:

    Counseling Services (provide confidential personal counseling and referral to treatment)

    (718) 365-5975

    Health Services (provides medical attention and referral)

    (718) 368-5684

    Student Wellness Center (provides consultation, peer support and health education)

    (718) 368-5684

    A free alcohol screening is offered every Spring. Please contact D-102 or 718-368-5975 for details.

    Off Campus Resources:

    New York City Addictions Hotline

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 
    1-800-622-HELP (4357) 
    TDD: 1-800-487-4889  
    Treatment Program Locator

    Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
    1-877-8-HOPENY (846-7369)

    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
    New York City: 1-212-870-3400

    Cocaine Anonymous (CA) 
    1-800-347-8998 or 310-559-5833

    Narcotics Anonymous (NA) 
    1-818-773-9999 or 212-929-6262

    Al-Anon Family Groups (formerly Al-Anon and Alateen) 
    Mutual support and information for friends and relatives of alcoholics

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)