Alcohol and Other Drugs Education and Prevention Policy


Responsible Administrative Unit: Student Life

Policy Contact: Associate Dean of Students, Derek Morgan (dmorgan@mines.edu)

Related Resources: Colorado Drug Law Summary

This policy is linked from the Human Resources and Student sections of the policy library.


The Colorado School of Mines is committed to:

  • Providing students educational programming about alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and information and access to appropriate community resources and professional counseling; and
  • Protecting the safety, health, and well-being of all employees, students, and other individuals in our workplace and campus community.

Alcohol abuse and illegal drug use can pose significant safety, health, and well-being problems within the Mines working and learning environment. The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (P.L. 101-226) requires annual notice to the campus community of specific requirements of the law applicable to both students and employees. This policy addresses the following:
Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use,
or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as
part of its activities.

  • The School’s commitment to imposing disciplinary sanctions on students and employees consistent with local, state, and federal law, and a description of those sanctions, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for criminal prosecution.
  • A description of the applicable legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol (for students and employees).
  • A description of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
  • A description of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation or re-entry programs available to employees and students.
  • The School’s commitment to conducting a biennial review of its program.

Employees, like students, are covered under the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and are subject to this policy. In addition to reviewing this policy, employees should also review the Mines’ Drug Free Workplace Policy.


In compliance with the federal government’s Drug Free Schools & Communities Act, there are community standards and potential consequences at the Colorado School of Mines pertaining to the illegal use of alcohol or drugs. The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, and the unlawful or unauthorized use alcohol by employees and students at Mines will result in disciplinary action consistent with School policies, and local, state, and federal laws.

While Colorado’s constitution allows for specific legal use, possession, and growing of marijuana under certain circumstances, because of Mines’ status as a federal contractor and grant recipient and because marijuana use is still prohibited under federal law, the use, possession
and growing of marijuana on campus is prohibited. Student use of alcohol and other drugs (including marijuana) that results in an impaired ability to perform academically, or behavior that violates the Code of Conduct constitutes a violation of this policy.


The School will impose sanctions on any student or employee found to be in violation of campus standards as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, or the Drug Free Workplace policy, respectively. Sanctions include, but are not limited to: required completion of an appropriate
educational or rehabilitation program; suspension or expulsion from the School; and/or referral to the appropriate law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution.

In addition to facing criminal charges, students who fail to comply with the law will be subject to appropriate campus disciplinary action, including probation, suspension, or dismissal. As a part of the Mines’ disciplinary procedure, a student who has violated this policy and is allowed to remain in school will be required to submit to drug testing as a condition of continued enrollment.

The Colorado School of Mines offers through its Counseling Center proactive alcohol and drug abuse programs designed to educate students about the dangers of substance abuse. Incoming freshman are required to complete an online AOD education course prior to matriculation. Students not completing the online course, who subsequently have AOD infractions, will be required to complete an AOD course as one of the sanctions.


4.1 State of Colorado Sanctions

Please see Colorado Drug Law Summary on the web or see Attachment A.

4.2 Federal Sanctions

Federal law has numerous penalties for the illegal possession of controlled substances, possession of crack cocaine, and trafficking in methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogue.

Possession sentences range from up to one-year imprisonment and $1,000 fine to 20 years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000. Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance can be a sanction
for convictions. Sanctions can also include denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, public housing tenancy, eligibility to receive or purchase firearms, and professional and commercial licenses. Federal trafficking sanctions can range from one-year imprisonment and $100 fine to life in prison and a fine of $8 million. 


Drug use poses a serious threat to the health and welfare of anyone involved in the use of illegal drugs, as well as a potential threat to the welfare of others within the campus community. This threat includes negative impact on academic performance and work productivity,
estrangement of social relations, mental and physical health problems, reckless, negligent or intentional physical or emotional harm to others, and, in some cases, the possibility of serious bodily injury, illness, or death. Thus, the Colorado School of Mines’ position on drug use is that all students must comply with state and federal laws concerning the manufacture, possession, sale, and use of drugs.

5.1 Illicit Drugs

The use and overdose of illicit drugs, the non-medical use and overdose of prescription drugs, and withdrawal, can lead to physical and psychological dependence, behavioral changes, physical and psychological damage, and possible death.

Possible effects from the use of illegal narcotics include euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, and nausea. Narcotic overdoses can produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and death. Withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills, and sweating. Mothers who use drugs during pregnancy may give birth to infants with physical abnormalities and mental retardation.

The unlawful use of depressants can cause slurred speech, disorientation, and drunken behavior. Overdoses can produce weak and rapid pulse, coma, and death. Withdrawal syndrome can include tremors, delirium, convulsions, and death.

Illicit use of stimulants can cause increased alertness, excitation, euphoria, increased pulse rate and blood pressure, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Agitation, increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and death can result from stimulant overdose. Withdrawal syndrome can include apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, and disorientation.

Possible effects of the use of hallucinogens include illusions and hallucinations and altered perceptions of time and distance. Overdoses can produce longer, more intense effects, psychosis, and death.

The use of marijuana can produce euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, increased appetite, and disoriented behaviors. Overdoses can result in fatigue, paranoia, and psychosis.

Cannabis withdrawal can occasionally produce insomnia, hyperactivity, and decreased appetite.

For further information, students can contact the Counseling Center or the Mabel Coulter Student Health Center. Employees can contact the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program (C-SEAP).

5.2 Alcohol

Alcohol consumption may cause a number of significant changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate
doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. 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 effects just described.

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.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at a greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

Additional information can be found at: http://counseling.mines.edu/CNSL-services.


6.1 On-campus Resources Available to Students

Anyone who has a concern about a student’s use of, the physiological and psychological effects of, and the treatment resources for alcohol or other drugs should contact:

6.2 Engineers Choosing Healthy Options Program

The Engineers Choosing Healthy Options (ECHO) Program is the drug and alcohol education arm of the Counseling Center, created through a Federal grant in 1989. ECHO has a library of information on alcohol and other drugs that is readily available in the Counseling Center, located on the second floor of the W. Lloyd Wright Student Wellness Center. Presentations and programs on drug and alcohol education are also available to any campus group that makes a request. Student referrals to the ECHO program are encouraged from all segments of the campus community.

Students who require evaluation, education, or treatment beyond ECHO’s educational scope are referred to appropriate agencies in the community. All care provided off-campus is at the individual’s own expense.

6.3 Resources Available to Employees

Mines recognizes alcohol or drug dependency are treatable conditions. Employees who suspect they have an alcohol or drug dependency problem are encouraged to seek assistance. Details on assistance available to employees can be found in the Drug Free Workplace Policy.


The Division of Student Life will conduct a biennial review of alcohol and other drug program effectiveness and consistency. The report will propose program and sanction changes as necessary for administrative consideration.


April 2015 (links, punctuation, and titles updated)


20 U.S.C. § 1011i; 34 C.F.R. § 86.1 et seq.; 55 Fed. Reg. 33,580 (Aug. 16, 1990).

Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) Part 86 Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention, see http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/reg/edgarReg/edgar.html.

For further information on Colorado School of Mines AOD Programs, contact the Division of Student Life at 303-273-3377.