The manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, possession, and/or use of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, banned substances, and/or illegal substances is prohibited on college premises or as a part of any of its activities. Equally, being under the influence or intoxicated on alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, and/or illegal substances is prohibited on college premises or as part of any of its activities. Banned substances include all smokeless tobacco products (chews, dips, snuff, snus, dissolvable products); energy dips/flavored dips; nicotine water and nicotine gel; hookahs/hookah products, all vaping products (vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, pens, and flavored cartridges), and any other items containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products. Further, WCC faculty and staff have the right to ban any substance or any smoking/inhalation device, whether legal or illegal, whether characterized as a tobacco product or not, that can potentially create a biohazard for other employees and students on campus. The college maintains a separate Tobacco-Free College Policy (Policy 7.15) for further reference. Exceptions to the alcohol possession and use provision may be made by the president in accordance with local, state, and federal laws in specific circumstances and designated areas. Violation of this policy may result in consequences such as, but not limited to, a counseling assessment, required treatment, probation, dismissal, suspension, or expulsion from the college.
It is the responsibility of each student to comply with all provisions of the Drug and Alcohol Policy while participating in college-sponsored events, athletics, student activities, and instructional activities. The scope of the policy includes all WCC campuses and centers, off-campus instructional sites, clinical sites, athletic fields, college-sponsored transportation (including, but not limited to, WCC vans and rented or chartered buses), and any other property that is owned, leased, or controlled by WCC.
Students engaged in off-campus instructional or clinical activities (including internships, practicums, externships, and work-based learning) may expect to be subjected to the additional drug and alcohol policies of those sites. Those policies may include provisions for drug and alcohol testing prior to and during placement at those sites. Those policies are enacted and enforced by the management of those specific facilities. Violations of a specific site’s policy does not exclude consequences under WCC’s Drug and Alcohol Policy, as clinical placement for academic credit is considered a college-sponsored activity.
The illegal use of drugs and alcohol constitutes a serious crime under federal, state, and local laws. Convictions may result in imprisonment, fines, and/or mandatory community service.
Every student is entitled to procedural due process; these procedures are published and accessible to students in the general catalog of the college, published under the heading “Student Grievance Process.”
North Carolina law makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, sell, deliver, possess with intent to sell or deliver, or traffic in controlled substances. Violations of North Carolina law may result in imprisonment, fine, court costs, mandatory community services, and/or loss of driving privileges. Individuals convicted of drug or alcohol violations may have a criminal history that could affect them for the rest of their lives. Graduate schools, limited admissions programs, professional organizations, and employers could use such a record to reject an applicant. Though not exclusive, the following information represents some of the N.C. laws pertaining to substance use:
Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving
- The drinking age in North Carolina is 21. The legal blood alcohol limit to drive on the highway or state right-of-way is .08%. Driving with any amount of alcohol in the body is illegal for those under 21. A person can be charged with driving while impaired with blood alcohol concentrations less than .08% if law enforcement observes erratic driving and/or the driver fails field sobriety tests.
- Driving-Under-Influence convictions carry a range of sentences and fines, depending on prior convictions. Penalties can include from 24 hours to two years in prison, between $100 and $2,000 court fines, and from one year to permanent suspension of license. If someone is injured or dies because of your drunk driving, you can face additional criminal and civil charges and go to jail for much longer.
- If you are under 21 years of age, it is illegal to purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess alcohol (including beer, fortified wines, spirits, and mixed drinks). The legal penalties include fines, court costs, and possible imprisonment.
- It is a criminal offense to aid or abet in the purchase of alcoholic beverages or give alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21. If you buy an underage person alcohol you can face fines, court costs, possible imprisonment, and loss of driver’s license for a year. Additionally, if you serve underage persons alcohol while under your supervision, or provide or aid underage persons in consuming alcohol resulting in death or serious injury, North Carolina laws allow suit for civil damages up to $500,000 per occurrence.
- If you use a fake, altered, or borrowed ID to buy alcohol (including at concerts) or lend your ID to someone, you risk criminal charges and having your own driver’s license suspended.
- It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in any part of a vehicle’s passenger area if the driver has any blood alcohol content. Open containers of spirituous liquors or fortified wine in the passenger area are unlawful regardless of driver consumption. It is illegal to transport spirituous liquors or fortified wine in any container other than in the manufacturer’s original unopened container.
- For more complete information on laws and consequences pertaining to alcohol, contact the N.C. Highway Patrol, local DMV, or visit the following websites: www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/Statutes.asp (site search: alcohol); www.abc.nc.gov (click on the “Legal” tab); and www.ncdps.gov.
Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance
- The Controlled Substance Act is the federal law that prohibits the manufacture, importation, possession, distribution, and use of certain substances. The CSA created five schedules of substances, ranked according to the substance’s potential for abuse and accepted medical use. Schedule I drugs rank high in potential for abuse with no accepted medical value (e.g., marijuana and heroin). Schedule V drugs rank low in abuse and dependence potentials and high in medical value (e.g., anticonvulsants, cough medicine).
- Controlled substances include narcotics, hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants, anesthetics, opiates, and steroids. They are all ranked in the CSA Schedule I–V classification system.
- The federal penalties and sanctions depend upon the drug schedule, prior convictions, and type of use (i.e., trafficking vs. personal use). Based on these factors, legal consequences can include between 15 days and 20 years in prison; fines between $1,000 and $250,000; forfeiture of housing, vehicles, boats, or aircraft used to possess or transport; and civil fines of up to $100,000.
- For more information concerning schedules of drugs and penalties, please see www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/index.html or Title 21 (Sections 844, 853, 881) of the United States Code at http://uscode.house.gov/search/criteria.shtml.
Additionally, if convicted of an alcohol or drug-related offense, there can be other tangible consequences. Federal and state sanctions can cause revocation of certain licenses such as pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, and professional licenses. There may be increases in insurance premiums or denial of benefits in such areas as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses. A record of a misdemeanor or felony conviction may prevent a person from entering a chosen career.
No illicit drug is free of health risks. Most carry the danger of psychological or physical addiction. All cause distortion of brain functioning and can alter thinking, perception, and memory, as well as affect behavior. Risk to health involves factors such as frequency of abuse, degree of tolerance, amounts ingested, and interactions with medical conditions. Though not comprehensive, the following list shows category of drugs, examples/street names, and possible health consequences of drugs within that category:
- cannabis (marijuana, hash, Mary Jane, weed) – impaired coordination, respiratory infections, memory problems, anxiety, depression, certain cancers when smoked.
- depressants (barbiturates, benzodiazepines, downers, yellow jackets, roofies) – sedation, respiratory depression, drowsiness, life-threatening withdrawal, coma, death.
- hallucinogens (LSD, acid, mushrooms) – altered perceptions, hallucinations, increased blood pressure/temperature/heart rate, tremors, paranoia.
- opioids (morphine, heroin, opiates, roxys, oxys, smack, white horse, big O) – euphoria, respiratory failure, sedation coma, death.
- steroids (testosterone, roids, juice) – hostility and aggression, acne, liver/kidney/prostate cancer, male sexual impotence, development of masculine characteristics.
- stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, meth, ecstasy, crank, speed) – increased temperature and heart rate, chest pain, cardiac and neurological damage, respiratory failure, psychotic behavior, violence.
The use of intravenous drugs adds layers of danger by introducing the risk of skin infections and lesions, along with potentially deadly blood-borne diseases (e.g., HIV, AIDS, hepatitis). Generalized health problems may also develop as result of damage to the respiratory, circulatory, and other body systems (e.g., endocarditis). Every illicit drug has the potential to result in death, whether from the body’s own reaction to the abuse of drugs or from accidents caused by persons who are impaired.
Although alcohol is not an illegal substance when consumed by adults over the age of 21, it presents many of the same health risks as illicit drugs. Alcohol consumption causes various marked 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 increase the incidences of a variety of aggressive acts, including partner relational violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. 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 central nervous system depressants, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol after established dependence can 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 may suffer irreversible physical abnormalities and intellectual deficiencies. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.
Available Resources and Treatment
Student Services provides mental health and substance abuse assessments for students free of charge. Appointments are preferred, but drop-ins are welcome. Sessions are available at no cost but are limited to short-term treatment needs. Short-term issues can range from depression and anxiety to relational issues or adjustment problems. If issues cannot be resolved within a few sessions, a counselor will speak to you about a referral to a more comprehensive community program. For faculty and staff, the college maintains an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides three treatment sessions with a community provider at no cost to the employee. Staff or faculty requesting EAP assistance can contact the director of Human Resources at 336-838-6422.
Resources include public and private agencies for those needing assistance with drug or alcohol issues. Public resources have 24-hour emergency care services. The following numbers reach the public mental health system serving our region:
- Wilkes County: 336-667-5151
- Alleghany County: 336-372-4095
- Ashe County: 336-246-4542
- 24-hour, toll-free crisis number: 1-877-492-2785.
Another resource is the federal government hotline 1-800-662-HELP. This is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Referral Routing Service where individuals can get information and referrals to appropriate treatment facilities. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) maintains a website, www.naminc.org, that includes links to a helpline for finding treatment facilities in North Carolina. Additionally, a variety of referral information is available on the college website at https://www.wilkescc.edu/student-resources/counseling.
For lists or information about treatment options and assistance with determining the most appropriate actions, contact a Student Services counselor at 336-838-6135.
Drug-free events abound throughout the year. The college has a game room, walking trails, student commons, a gymnasium, and a wellness center that are drug and alcohol-free and promote wellness. Additionally, any student activities sponsored through WCC (e.g., Spring Fling, Fall Festival, outings, SGA, club events) are drug and alcohol-free.
Educational activities and information are provided for students and employees to stress prevention. These activities are highlighted each October during Drug and Alcohol Prevention Month. Events are promoted through local media, social media, the college website, and advertisements throughout the campus. Events include guest speakers, interactional demonstrations, and promotional items that encourage a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. Counselors are available throughout the year for classroom educational presentations, based on instructor request. Student and college personnel participation is encouraged in all aspects of WCC’s program to prevent illegal drug use and alcohol abuse.
The manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, possession, and/or use of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, banned substances, and/or illegal substances is prohibited on college premises or when serving in a work capacity in any other location. Equally, being under the influence or intoxicated on alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, and/or illegal substances is prohibited on college premises or when serving in a work capacity in any other location. Banned substances include all smokeless tobacco products (chews, dips, snuff, snus, dissolvable products); energy dips/flavored dips; nicotine water and nicotine gel; hookahs and hookah products; all vaping products (vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, pens, flavored cartridges), and any other items containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products. Further, WCC faculty and staff have the right to ban any substance or any smoking/inhalation device, whether legal or illegal, whether characterized as a tobacco product or not, that can potentially create a biohazard for other employees and students on campus. The college maintains a separate Tobacco-Free College Policy (Policy 7.15) for further reference.
An employee who violates any of these prohibited acts is subject to disciplinary actions such as, but not limited to, a counseling assessment, required treatment, probation, suspension, or dismissal from the college. An exception to the alcohol possession and use provision may be made by the president in accordance with local, state, and federal laws in specific circumstances and designated areas.
It is the responsibility of each employee to comply with all provisions of the Drug and Alcohol Policy while participating in college-sponsored events, athletics, student activities, and instructional activities. The scope of the policy includes all WCC campuses and centers, off-campus instructional sites, clinical sites, athletic fields, and college-sponsored transportation (including but not limited to WCC vehicles, rented/chartered vans/buses and any other property that is owned, leased, or controlled by WCC). Employees will not report to or remain at the campus or any campus worksites when unable to adequately perform their duties because of the effect of any alcoholic beverage, controlled substances, and/or drugs whether illegal, prescribed, or over-the-counter.
Any employee found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension, termination, or dismissal, at the discretion of the president. Administrative response to such situations will be in accordance with the requirements and other procedures established in support of this policy:
- any employee determined to be involved in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, and/or selling of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, and/or controlled substances on the college premises or any college worksite will be terminated.
- any employee determined to be in possession of alcohol or illegal drugs on the college premises or any college worksite will receive one written warning unless the offense is so serious that the president determines that it is cause for suspension, demotion, or dismissal. A second offense will be grounds for dismissal.
- any employee determined to be using or impaired by alcohol on the college premises or any college worksite will receive a written warning unless the offense is so serious that the president determines that it is cause for suspension, demotion, or dismissal and will be referred for counseling assistance. If the employee fails to receive counseling or fails to participate in recommended action, he/she may be dismissed. A second offense will be grounds for dismissal.
- any employee determined to be using and/or impaired by an illegal drug or controlled substance on the college premises or any college worksite will be subject to drug screening tests. Such determination will be based on reasonable suspicion and such tests will be authorized only by the president/designee. The employee will be suspended with pay pending the outcome of the test results. The employee will have the right to request a backup test. The employee will bear the cost of such backup testing. If test results are positive, the employee will be given one written warning and will be referred for counseling assistance. If the employee fails to receive counseling assistance and/or fails to participate in recommended action, he/she may be dismissed. Refusal to submit to such test will result in disciplinary actions, which may include dismissal. A second offense will be grounds for dismissal. Any employee who intentionally tampers with a sample provided for drug screening, violates a chain-of-custody or identification procedures, or falsifies a test result will be subject to dismissal.
The college will report illegal drug and/or alcoholic use activity defined by this policy to the appropriate law enforcement authority.
Any employee convicted of any criminal drug and/or alcoholic beverage law, statute, or regulation occurring on college premises or any college worksite will notify the president/designee no later than (5) five calendar days after such conviction. Failure to report such information will be grounds for automatic dismissal. When required by federal law, the college administration will notify the appropriate federal agency of such a conviction within (10) ten days of college notification.
All employees, as a condition of employment, will be required, upon the request of the president/designee, based on reasonable suspicion of a violation of this policy, to submit to the following: searches of college and personal vehicles brought on or parked on college premises or any college worksite; reasonable searches of all clothing, packages, purses, briefcases, tool boxes, lunch boxes, or other containers on college premises or any college worksite; searches of desks, file cabinets, lockers, or other office or shop equipment in or on college premises or any college worksite. Failure to comply with such a request as part of an administrative investigation will be deemed grounds for disciplinary actions, which may include dismissal.
If the employee has reason to believe that an error was made, an appeal may be made utilizing the due process policy set forth in Section 2 of the policy manual.
The college will maintain a prevention program to inform employees and students about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. The college maintains an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can authorize three treatment sessions with a community provider at no cost to the employee. Staff or faculty needing further information about the EAP can contact the director of Human Resources at 336-838-6422. The president will designate the responsibility of the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program to the director of Human Resources and Student Services personnel.
Every employee will be given a copy of this policy regarding an alcohol and drug-free worksite. All employees will be required to report to their immediate supervisors any observed and/or suspected violations of this policy. While visiting campus, members of the public are required to adhere to this policy.
The board of trustees will update the Drug and Alcohol Policy as necessary, based upon recommendations of the president/designee. The president/designee will distribute the policy to employees and students and provide notification of changes through a variety of methods, which include email messages each semester, student orientation booklets and slides, policy pamphlets during new employee orientations, ACA and general course syllabi, and links on the college website.