Drug and Alcohol Policies and Programs

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Western Governors University (WGU) has a strong commitment to maintaining a drug-free, healthy, and safe working and learning environment. Consequently, the following are examples of acts strictly prohibited while on University property or work sites, while conducting University business off-site, or while operating any vehicle while on University business:

 

  • The use, possession, purchase, sale, or distribution of any illegal drug, alcohol, or non-prescribed controlled substance; and
  • Being under the influence of, or having within the bloodstream or bodily systems, alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances which could impair judgment, job performance, or behavior or which could threaten employee or student safety.

Employees violating this policy will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination. Off-the-job use, possession, sale, etc. of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances may also subject an employee to corrective action if such actions affect job performance, workplace safety, or University interests. Additionally, the University reserves the right to conduct drug and medical tests on any employee or applicant at any time, unless prohibited by law.

Student violations of this policy will be referred for adjudication under the Code of Student Conduct, and may result in suspension or disciplinary expulsion.

Counseling and Community Referrals

WGU offers the following counseling services and community referrals for students, faculty or staff struggling with substance abuse.  



WGU WellConnect for Students
1-877-685-3269

Support Linc Employee Assistance Program for WGU Staff Members
1-888-881-5462

Additional information on Support Linc



Preventing Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Members of the WGU community also have access to self-serve modules via the Student Advantage website http://wgu.personaladvantage.com on a variety of topics including drug addiction, binge drinking and alcohol abuse. 

Health Risks Associated with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drug abuse has been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affects human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use.

The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (www.niaaa.nih.gov), health effects of specific substances are as follows:


 

  • Nicotine is an addictive stimulant found in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Tobacco smoke increases a user’s risk of cancer, emphysema, bronchial disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Alcohol consumption can damage the brain and most body organs. Areas of the brain that are especially vulnerable to alcohol-related damage are the cerebral cortex (largely responsible for our higher brain functions, including problem solving and decision making), the hippocampus (important for memory and learning), and the cerebellum (important for movement coordination). Drinking too much alcohol, on a single occasion or over time, can also cause damage to the heart, liver, and pancreas.  It can also lead to greater risk of certain cancers and weakens the immune system making the body more susceptible to infection.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal substance. This drug impairs short-term memory and learning, the ability to focus attention, and coordination. It also increases heart rate, can harm the lungs, and can increase the risk of psychosis in those with an underlying vulnerability.
  • Prescription medications, including opioid pain relievers (such as OxyContin® and Vicodin®), anti-anxiety sedatives (such as Valium® and Xanax®), and ADHD stimulants (such as Adderall® and Ritalin®), are commonly misused to self-treat for medical problems or abused for purposes of getting high or (especially with stimulants) improving performance. However, misuse or abuse of these drugs (that is, taking them other than exactly as instructed by a doctor and for the purposes prescribed) can lead to addiction and even, in some cases, death. Opioid pain relievers, for instance, are frequently abused by being crushed and injected or snorted, greatly raising the risk of addiction and overdose. Unfortunately, there is a common misperception that because medications are prescribed by physicians, they are safe even when used illegally or by another person than they were prescribed for.
  • Inhalants are volatile substances found in many household products, such as oven cleaners, gasoline, spray paints, and other aerosols, that induce mind-altering effects; they are frequently the first drugs tried by children or young teens. Inhalants are extremely toxic and can damage the heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Even a healthy person can suffer heart failure and death within minutes of a single session of prolonged sniffing of an inhalant.
  • Cocaine is a short-acting stimulant, which can lead users to take the drug many times in a single session (known as a “binge”). Cocaine use can lead to severe medical consequences related to the heart and the respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems.
  • Amphetamines, including methamphetamine, are powerful stimulants that can produce feelings of euphoria and alertness. Methamphetamine’s effects are particularly long-lasting and harmful to the brain. Amphetamines can cause high body temperature and can lead to serious heart problems and seizures.
  • MDMA (Ecstasy or "Molly") produces both stimulant and mind-altering effects. It can increase body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and heart-wall stress. MDMA may also be toxic to nerve cells.
  • LSD is one of the most potent hallucinogenic, or perception-altering, drugs. Its effects are unpredictable, and abusers may see vivid colors and images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Users also may have traumatic experiences and emotions that can last for many hours.
  • Heroin is a powerful opioid drug that produces euphoria and feelings of relaxation. It slows respiration, and its use is linked to an increased risk of serious infectious diseases, especially when taken intravenously. People who become addicted to opioid pain relievers sometimes switch to heroin instead, because it produces similar effects and may be cheaper or easier to obtain.
  • Steroids, which can also be prescribed for certain medical conditions, are abused to increase muscle mass and to improve athletic performance or physical appearance. Serious consequences of abuse can include severe acne, heart disease, liver problems, stroke, infectious diseases, depression, and suicide.
  • Drug combinations. A particularly dangerous and common practice is the combining of two or more drugs. The practice ranges from the co-administration of legal drugs, like alcohol and nicotine, to the dangerous mixing of prescription drugs, to the deadly combination of heroin or cocaine with fentanyl (an opioid pain medication). Whatever the context, it is critical to realize that because of drug–drug interactions, such practices often pose significantly higher risks than the already harmful individual drugs.

Legal Sanctions

 



Federal Trafficking Penalties for Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V (except Marijuana)
 
Schedule Substance/Quantity Penalty Substance/Quantity Penalty
II Cocaine
500-4999 grams mixture
First Offense: Not less than 5 yrs. and not more than 40 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life. Fine of not more than $5 million if an individual, $25 million if not an individual.  
 
Second Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. and not more than life. If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.  Fine of not more than $8 million if an individual, $50 million if not an individual.
Cocaine
5 kilograms or more mixture
First Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. and not more than life.  If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life.  Fine of not more than $10 million if an individual, $50 million if not an individual. 
 
Second Offense: Not less than 20 yrs, and not more than life.  If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if not an individual.
 
2 or More Prior Offenses: Life imprisonment.  Fine of not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if not an individual.
II Cocaine Base
28-279 grams mixture
Cocaine Base
280 grams or more mixture
II Fentanyl
40-399 grams mixture
Fentanyl
400 grams or more mixture
I Fentanyl Analogue 10-99 grams mixture Fentanyl Analogue
100 grams or more mixture
I Heroin
100-999 grams mixture
Heroin
1 kilogram or more mixture
I LSD 
1-9 grams mixture
LSD
10 grams or more mixture
II Methamphetamine
5-49 grams pure or
50-499 grams mixture
Methamphetamine
50 grams or more pure or 500 grams or more mixture
II PCP
10-99 grams pure or
100-999 grams mixture
PCP
100 grams or more pure or 1 kilogram or more mixture
                       
Substance/Quantity Penalty
Any Amount Of Other Schedule I & II Substances  First Offense: Not more that 20 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than Life.  Fine $1 million if an individual, $5 million if not an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not more than 30 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.  Fine $2 million if an individual, $10 million if not an individual.
Any Drug Product Containing Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid
Flunitrazepam (Schedule IV)
1 Gram
 
Any Amount Of Other Schedule III Drugs First Offense: Not more than 10 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, not more that 15 yrs.  Fine not more than $500,000 if an individual, $2.5 million if not an individual. 
 
Second Offense: Not more than 20 yrs.  If death or serious injury, not more than 30 yrs. 
Fine not more than $1 million if an individual, $5 million if not an individual.
Any Amount Of All Other Schedule IV Drugs (other than one gram or more of Flunitrazepam) First Offense: Not more than 5 yrs.  Fine not more than $250,000 if an individual, $1 million if not an individual. 
 
Second Offense: Not more than 10 yrs.  Fine not more than $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than an individual.
Any Amount Of All Schedule V Drugs First Offense: Not more than 1 yr.  Fine not more than $100,000 if an individual, $250,000 if not an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not more than 4 yrs.  Fine not more than $200,000 if an individual, $500,000 if not an individual.



Federal Trafficking Penalties for Marijuana, Hashish and Hashish Oil, Schedule I Substances
 
Marijuana
1,000 kilograms or more marijuana mixture or 1,000 or more marijuana plants
First Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. or more than life. If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs., or more than life. Fine not more than $10 million if an individual, $50 million if other than an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not less than 20 yrs. or more than life.  If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.  Fine not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if other than an individual.
Marijuana
100 to 999 kilograms marijuana mixture or 100 to 999 marijuana  plants
First Offense: Not less than 5 yrs. or more than 40 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life.  Fine not more than $5 million if an individual, $25 million if other than an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. or more than life.  If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.  Fine not more than $8 million if an individual, $50million if other than an individual.
Marijuana 
50 to 99 kilograms marijuana mixture, 
50 to 99 marijuana plants
First Offense: Not more than 20 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life.  Fine $1 million if an individual, $5 million if other than an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not more than 30 yrs.  If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.
Fine $2 million if an individual, $10 million if other than an individual.
Hashish
More than 10 kilograms 
Hashish Oil
More than 1 kilogram
Marijuana less than 50 kilograms marijuana (but does not include 50 or more marijuana
plants regardless of  weight)
 
1 to 49 marijuana plants
First Offense: Not more than 5 yrs.  Fine not more than $250,000, $1 million if other than an individual.
 
Second Offense: Not more than 10 yrs.  Fine $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than individual.
Hashish
10 kilograms or less 
Hashish Oil
1 kilogram or less


 



Article Number: 20458, 2908

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