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Drug Free Schools Notification

DFSCA Notification

In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, this notification is being sent to each UMass Dartmouth student. Its purpose is to serve as a reminder of the health risks associated with drug and alcohol use; of resources available to assist with alcohol or other drug concerns; of University policies related to the illegal possession, use or distribution of drugs or alcohol; and of the internal sanctions and federal and state laws regarding the illegal sale, possession, consumption, or distribution of drugs or alcohol.

Drug Free Schools Act

As an institution of higher education, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is required to comply with the provisions of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Regulations. This notice provides you with information about UMass Dartmouth’s alcohol and other drug policies, state and federal laws relative to alcohol and other drugs, the health consequences of alcohol and other drug use and misuse, and resources available to assist with alcohol and other drug concerns.

UMass Dartmouth’s Alcohol and Drug Policies and Associated Sanctions

UMass Dartmouth’s alcohol and drug policies represent the University’s commitment to the safety and well-being of all members of the University community. They also represent the University’s adherence to federal, state, and local regulations regarding alcohol and other drugs.

UMass Dartmouth’s alcohol and drug policies clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol on school property or as part of any school activities. Sanctions will be imposed on students found in violation of the university’s alcohol and drug policies. Sanctions are cumulative throughout a student’s entire enrollment at UMass Dartmouth and differ depending upon the student's disciplinary history and the severity of the violation.

The alcohol and drug policies and associated sanctions—up to and including dismissal from the university—are available online:

The expectation of UMass Dartmouth is that all community members will care for the safety and well-being of themselves and others. Students are expected to seek immediate medical assistance for themselves or others when necessary. Students may be reluctant to seek help in alcohol or other drug-related emergencies because of potential student conduct consequences for themselves, the person in need of assistance, or the organization hosting the event where the situation occurs. Since these emergencies are potentially life-threatening, UMass Dartmouth developed a Medical Amnesty Policy to reduce barriers to seeking assistance and promote education for individuals who receive emergency medical attention related to their own use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

Applicable Federal, State, and Local Laws

UMass Dartmouth will comply with all requirements of applicable laws concerning the illegal possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol. Specific legislation regarding local and state sanctions for the unlawful possession or distribution of drugs and alcohol is on file with UMass Dartmouth Police.

They include:

  1. Chapter 94C, The Controlled Substances Act lists specific controlled substances and criminal penalties for any prohibited use of these substances. These include forfeiture of property as well as imprisonment and other criminal penalties. The law also prohibits misuse of drug paraphernalia.
  2. Chapter 138, Alcoholic Liquors, regulates the sale of alcohol to minors, the use of any false identification to obtain alcohol, making false statements as to age to obtain alcohol, and minors in possession of alcohol, minors transporting alcohol, etc.
  3. Chapter 90, Section 24, Operating Under the Influence Law
  4. The ordinance of the Town of Dartmouth prohibits public consumption of alcoholic beverages. You cannot use marijuana in any form in public in Massachusetts; use is also prohibited on federal property.
  5. Chapter 94C, Section 34A, The Good Samaritan Law, encourages someone who witnesses an overdose to seek help from professionals by providing the caller, and the person who overdosed, protection from arrest and/or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence.

Federal penalties and sanctions for the illegal possession of a controlled substance are detailed in the Controlled Substances Act. They include: 21 U.S.C.S. 862, Denial of Federal benefits, including student loans, grants, contracts, and professional commercial licenses.

Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Drug Misuse

This is a summary of the health risks associated with the three most common categories of drugs used and misused by today’s college students.


Alcohol is the most used drug among college students. Most students who choose to drink alcohol do so responsibly most of the time.

However, of great concern for college students is high-risk drinking, often referred to as “binge drinking” and heavy alcohol use. For men, high-risk drinking is defined consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks on an occasion. For women, high-risk drinking is defined as the consumption of four or more alcoholic drinks on an occasion. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on five or more days within the past month.

The consequences of high-risk drinking and heavy alcohol use pose a serious public health concern for college students between the ages of 18 and 24, as the following statistics illustrate:

  • Academic Problems: 25% of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
  • Alcohol Use Disorder: 9% of college students met the criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder.
  • Assault: 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual Violence: 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or rape.
  • Death: 1,825 college students die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including car accidents.


Marijuana, which is classified as a hallucinogen, is the second most widely used drug among college students.

The nature and intensity of the effects of marijuana use vary according to the dose, the species or hybridization of the source plant, the method of consumption, the user's mental and physical characteristics, and the environment of consumption. Marijuana use produces a broad spectrum of possible cognitive, behavioral, or perceptual effects, the occurrence of which varies from user to user. Some of these are the intended effect desired by users, some may be considered desirable depending on the situation, and others are generally considered undesirable. Common effects of marijuana use include increased heart rate; dryness of the mouth; reddening of the eyes; impairment of motor skills, concentration, and short-term memory; enhanced sensory experiences; and an increased sense of well-being.

Marijuana use is considered by some riskier today than in past decades because much of the drug is cultivated to increase its potency. Another concern is the fact that not all marijuana is “pure”; it may be laced with other drugs or harmful substances. Marijuana is less addictive than many other drugs; however, approximately 10% of users will develop problems severe enough to impact their work and relationships.

Prescription & over-the-counter medications

Opioids (prescribed for pain), central nervous system depressants (prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders) and stimulants (prescribed for ADHD) are three classes of prescription medication that are commonly misused. Over-the-counter medications—often, cough and cold medications—are also misused.

Prescription medications are often obtained (shared, stolen, or purchased) from someone with a prescription. Many prescription medications are also illegally “pharmed” on the internet; these medications are potentially counterfeit, adulterated, or contaminated. The effects of prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse vary according to the medication, the dose, the method of consumption, the user’s mental and physical characteristics, and other factors. Misuse of any drug can lead to dependence. Used alone in sufficient doses, or in combination with alcohol, some medications can be lethal.

You Can Safely Dispose of Unwanted Medication on Campus!

You can safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, over the counter medications, vitamins, and even medications intended for pets at the drug disposal kiosk located at the UMass Dartmouth Police Department. To dispose of unwanted drugs, simply walk into the lobby of the Police Department and drop the items in the secured kiosk—no questions asked!

Alcohol and Drug Help Resources

This is only a partial listing of many available educational, treatment, and recovery resources.

Counseling Center staff can assist students concerned about their use of alcohol or other drugs. Help is also available to students who are concerned with or affected by the use/misuse of alcohol or other drugs by a family member, friend, or roommate. Call 508.999.8650.

Rethinking Drinking

Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, and, of course, how much you drink. For anyone who drinks, this site offers valuable, research-based information. What do you think about taking a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health? Rethinking Drinking can help you get started.

More About Marijuana

In Massachusetts, people over the age of 21 may use marijuana. Learn more about what is legal, responsible use, health effects, and more.

(Note: Federal law prohibits marijuana use, possession, distribution, and/or cultivation at educational institutions. Therefore, the use, possession, distribution, and/or cultivation of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is not allowed on UMass Dartmouth premises, including residence buildings, nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus or any Student Organization event or activity. See the Drug Policy for more information.)


GenerationRx provides educational resources to help prevent the misuse of prescription medication, how to recognize and help someone who may be misusing prescription medication, and how to act in drug-related emergencies.

Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline

The Helpline provides consumers with comprehensive, accurate, and current information about alcohol and drug treatment and prevention services throughout Massachusetts. Free and confidential. 24/7.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline
1.800.622.HELP (4357)

National treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Free and confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year.

A searchable directory is also available here.

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who meet to attain and maintain sobriety through a 12-step program. Visit this site for more information and a searchable directory of offices in U.S. and Canada. Contact the office closest to your address for support group meeting locations and times.

Al-Anon Family Groups
1.888.425.2666 (Toll-free Meeting Line)
The two branches of the Al-Anon Family Groups include Al-Anon and Alateen, serving adults and teens who are relatives and friends of people with alcohol use disorder.

A searchable directory of in-person and electronic (online or phone) meetings and contacts worldwide is available here, including Massachusetts Al-Anon Alateen.

Narcotics Anonymous
1.866.624.3578 (New England Region of N.A.—Serving MA & RI)

Narcotics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who meet to attain and maintain recovery from substance use disorder through a 12-step program.

Visit the New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous website for regional support group meeting times and locations.

Nar-Anon Family Groups

Nar-Anon serves relatives and friends of someone with substance use disorder. Visit this site for more information and a searchable directory of support groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Marijuana Anonymous

Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of people who meet together to attain and maintain recovery from cannabis use disorder through a 12-step program.

A searchable directory of in-person and electronic (online or phone) meetings is available here,

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