Policy on Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

Trinity is concerned with the health and safety of every person in the university community.  Students, faculty, staff, conference guests, visitors, vendor employees — all are important to our university community and covered by Trinity’s policies and procedures while on campus.

Trinity complies with all federal and D.C. laws and regulations regarding alcohol and drugs.  Trinity complies with the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.  Those laws require the recitation of certain policy statements and regulations as follows:

1.  Policy on Drugs and Alcohol On Campus

This policy statement mirrors the statement in the Policy on Drug-Free Workplace in the Employee Handbook.  This policy statement also incorporates the policy statement on drugs and alcohol in the Student Code of Responsible Conduct.

Trinity prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of any controlled substance on Trinity’s campus or in any location where Trinity conducts business.  “Campus” and “location” includes private cars when parked on campus or at locations where Trinity conducts business.  “Controlled substance” for this policy includes alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs sold or distributed to any person who is not the patient for whom the prescription was written, drugs obtained through fraudulent or forged prescriptions, and all illegal drugs.

Any student or employee who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from school or termination of employment.  Trinity will seek the immediate removal of vendor employees who violate this policy.  Trinity will also remove from campus any guest or conference visitor who violates this policy.

Trinity may take whatever disciplinary action is appropriate for the gravity of the offense and such action is not dependent on the outcome of any criminal or civil proceedings external to Trinity.  Trinity will also report violators to local law enforcement authorities and will provide evidence in any criminal or civil proceedings.

  • Any employee or student who engages in manufacture, sale or use of controlled substances with students will incur immediate dismissal or termination, and Trinity will report the violator to local law enforcement and arrest may also ensue.
  • Any employee or student who possesses or uses controlled substances on campus may incur disciplinary actions of lesser consequence than termination, depending upon the circumstances, but in all cases Trinity will still notify local law enforcement authorities and the violator may be subject to arrest.
  • An employee or student whose discipline under this policy is less than dismissal or termination may also be required to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program as approved by federal, state or local authorities.
  • Trinity is a ‘dry’ campus and students may not have alcohol in their residential rooms, nor may students have alcohol at campus events. This rule applies even if the student is 21 or older.  Similarly, employees may not have alcohol on campus.
  • Limited exceptions to this rule may occur in controlled environments for adult events such as a dinner or reception at a conference held on campus, alumnae dinners or similar events where it may be appropriate to serve wine and beer with a bartender present.

2.  Health Risks Associated with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Abuse of drugs or alcohol can have a devastating effect on the abuser and also family, friends, communities and schools.  Health risks include mental as well as physical disorders, increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and clear risks of harm through accidents, falls or other behaviors resulting from alcohol or drug-induced impairments.  The Centers for Disease Control report in 2018 that drug overdoses alone are responsible for more than 72,000 deaths annually.

Trinity is committed to educating the campus community about these risks, and providing support for individuals who need assistance coping with addictions.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes extensive information on the harmful effects of the abuse of drugs and alcohol, see https://www.samhsa.gov/

Trinity’s Health and Wellness Center also conducts educational programs and provides extensive information on the health impact of drug and alcohol abuse, see Risks and Support for Alcohol and Drug Abuse on the Health Center website.

3.  Alcohol and Drug Counseling and Assistance

Trinity’s Health and Wellness Center will provide confidential assistance to any person on campus who seeks help for a drug or alcohol issue.  Such assistance might include direct consultation and treatment or reference to healthcare professionals outside of Trinity.  Employees should use their own physicians and insurance where possible, and students may use the Health Center or their own physicians as well depending on their insurance and health needs.

4.  Legal Sanctions under Federal and D.C. Law

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act requires specific recitation of the legal sanctions under federal and DC laws for the unlawful possession or distribution of unlawful drugs or alcohol.  Below are the laws and sanctions:

  • Under District of Columbia law, persons under age 21 are prohibited from possessing, drinking, purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Persons are also prohibited from falsely representing their age in an attempt to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment where alcohol is served. Violations of this law may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and suspension of driving privileges for up to one year (D.C. Code § 25-1002).
  • Persons who purchase, sell or in any other way deliver alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 may be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year (D.C. Code §§ 25-781, 25-785).
  • Further, intentional possession of a controlled substance (other than pursuant to a valid prescription), is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days’ imprisonment. The intentional manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance is punishable by prison terms up to 30 years and/or fines up to $75,000 (D.C. Code § 48-904.01). Controlled substances are defined in D.C. Code § 48-901.02.
  • Persons over age 21 who are found to have distributed a controlled substance to anyone under age 18 are subject to even heavier penalties, including fines up to $125,000 and imprisonment for up to 60 years (D.C. Code § 48-904.06).
  • Anyone found to have enlisted or encouraged an individual under age 18 to distribute or sell any controlled substance is subject to an additional fine of up to $50,000 and an additional prison term of up 20 years (D.C. Code § 48-904.07).
  • A finding that an individual has attempted or conspired to commit any of these offenses subjects the individual to the same fines and terms of imprisonment as if the crime were actually committed (D.C. Code § 48-904.09).
  • The manufacture or sale of drug paraphernalia to prepare or use illegal controlled substances is prohibited and punishable by fines up to $12,500 fine and/or a prison term of up to 2 years. The use or possession with intent to use of drug paraphernalia is punishable by a fine up to $250 and/or a prison term of up to 30 days.  (D.C. Code §§ 48-1101, 48-1103).
  • In addition to penalties under District of Columbia law, it is a violation of federal law to possess, manufacture, or distribute a controlled substance as defined by federal law. A first conviction may result in a one year imprisonment and a fine of at least $1,000, or both. If there is a prior drug conviction, the penalty may be at least 15 days in prison, not to exceed two years and fined at least $2,500, or both. More than two prior convictions may result in at least 90 days in prison, not to exceed three years, and/or a fine of at least $5,000 (21 U.S.C. § 844(a)).
  • Federal law may also require forfeiture of property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance (21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7); forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance (21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(4)); and civil fines of up to $10,000 (21 U.S.C. § 844a).
  • Upon a drug conviction, the federal government may also deny or revoke federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, for up to one year for first offense, and up to five years for second and subsequent offenses, (21 U.S.C. § 853a).
  • Persons convicted for the manufacture and/or distribution of controlled substances are subject to increased fines, jail time, and revocation of federal benefits (21 U.S.C. §§ 841, 862).
  • A student who has been convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance will not be eligible to receive any federal grants, loans, or work assistance for at least one year (for first conviction of possession) and possibly indefinitely (for third/subsequent conviction of possession or second/subsequent conviction of sale) (20 U.S.C. §1091(r)).
  • Students may resume eligibility earlier if: (1) they complete a drug rehabilitation program that includes two unannounced drug tests and otherwise meets Department of Education requirements; (2) they pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program; or (3) if the conviction is reversed, set aside or otherwise rendered invalid (20 U.S.C. § 1091(r))

5.  Biennial Review

The law also requires a biennial review of the program.  Any biennial review must include a determination of the number of drug and alcohol-related violations and fatalities that occur on Trinity’s campus or as part of a Trinity activity, as well as the resulting number and type of sanctions imposed. The fairness and efficacy of the program should also be considered as part of the biennial review.