5.5 Drug Policies: Penn State and Pennsylvania

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY POLICIES GOVERNING ALCOHOL & OTHER DRUGS

Penn State’s Alcohol and Drug Policy

Federal law requires Penn State to notify all faculty, staff, and students of certain information pertaining to the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on its property or as part of its activities. The information included in this report complies with the notification requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and its implementing regulations.

The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol or controlled substances by students, faculty, staff, and guests in buildings, facilities, grounds, or property controlled by the University or used as part of University activities. For students, this includes prohibiting the possession and consumption of any beverage containing alcohol in a residence hall room except by individuals who are 21 years or older at campuses where alcoholic beverages are permitted. This also includes prohibiting the presence of students under the age of 21 in residence hall rooms where alcohol is present. In addition, the smoking of any material is prohibited in all facilities of Penn State University at all locations.

Areas Open to the Public

The Pennsylvania State University prohibits the possession and use of alcoholic beverages in areas open to the public, including areas of buildings open to the public. However, the use of alcoholic beverages, subject to the laws of the Commonwealth, may be permitted at University-sponsored activities in areas designated by, and with the prior approval of, the University Risk Manager at the University Park campus; the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; or at other non-University Park locations, the Chancellor or appropriate campus/center executive officer responsible for the area requested.

Private or Closed Areas

The possession and use of alcoholic beverages are prohibited in conference rooms, offices, office reception rooms, closed buildings, and areas of buildings not open to the public or from which the public has been excluded, except: the use of alcoholic beverages, subject to the laws of the Commonwealth, may be permitted in specific private or closed areas designated by, and with the prior approval of, the appropriate person responsible for the area of request.

Education and Research Areas

The Pennsylvania State University specifically prohibits the use, possession, and dispensing of alcoholic beverages in classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, libraries, research areas, or within buildings, arenas or areas where athletic events, lectures, or concerts are held, during such events or activities. Permission will not be granted to use or possess alcoholic beverages in a facility that is being used for one of the above functions. (Please consult Policy AD18, Possession, Use and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages, for more information)

Policies Specific to Faculty and Staff

As a condition of University employment, every employee shall abide by the terms of this policy. Any employee who violates this policy is subject to Penn State sanctions, including dismissal, as well as criminal sanctions provided by federal, state, or local law. An employee may be required to participate in a drug abuse or drug rehabilitation program. An employee must notify his or her supervisor of any criminal drug conviction for a violation occurring in the University workplace no later than five (5) days after such conviction. Please consult Policy AD33, A Drug-Free Workplace for more information. (http://guru.psu.edu/policies/AD33.html)

Policies Specific to Penn State Students

Any student who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action including sanctions as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct in addition to any penalties resulting from violating local, state, and/or federal law. Disciplinary sanctions may include: Students who are found responsible for violations may be subject to sanctions ranging from Disciplinary Warning or Disciplinary Probation to Suspension or Expulsion from the University. Students residing in University housing may also lose the privilege of living on campus for violating University rules and regulations or conditions of the housing contract. In most cases, the Office of Student Conduct will also assign developmental and educational interventions designed to promote greater awareness and improved decision making for students and to further deter future misconduct.

Residence Life Alcohol Policy

Alcohol And Illegal Substances

Alcohol Policy

The possession of use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on all Penn State Mont Alto facilities and grounds.

It is a violation of state law and University policy for a student under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport alcoholic beverages. It is unlawful to sell, furnish, and give alcoholic beverages or to permit alcoholic beverages to be sold, furnished or given to any minor.

Residents will be held responsible for activities that occur in their rooms and will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police if guests are violating the on-campus alcohol policies listed above.

Failure to comply with the direction or to present identification to University Officials acting in the performance of their duties is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.

It is against the Student Code of Conduct to supply false information, such as name, age, etc. to University Officials who are acting in the performance of their duties.

Illegal Substances (Drugs)

It is a violation of state law and University policy to illegally possess, use, distribute, manufacture, sell, or be under the influence of other drugs. Students who violate this policy will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police and Public Safety.

It is against residence hall policy for a student to be in a residential area (room, common area, common building, building entryway, or quad area immediately adjacent to the residence halls) and in the presence of an illegal substance. Students who are in the presence of an illegal substance in these areas will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct and/or University Police and Public Safety.

Pennsylvania Alcohol-Related Offenses

Pennsylvania’s Medical Amnesty Law

If an individual who is under 21, in good faith, calls and believes they are the first to call 911, police, ambulance or campus security, gives their name and stays with the person to prevent that person’s death or serious injury, the caller is immune from prosecution for consumption or possession of alcohol.

Penn State’s Responsible Action Protocol

Penn State has a Responsible Action Protocol whereby students who seek medical assistance for peers suffering from alcohol poisoning or related problems may not be charged through the campus student conduct system for their own alcohol violations. Under the protocol, students who act responsibly by notifying the appropriate authorities (e.g., calling 911, alerting a resident assistant, contacting police) typically will not face University disciplinary action for their own alcohol violations, unless they are responsible for other violations (e.g., vandalism, assault) as well. However, these students will be required to attend BASICS or similar program; the fee will be waived.

Underage Drinking

It is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or knowingly and intentionally transport any liquor, malt, or brewed beverage. It is also illegal to lie about age to obtain alcohol and to carry a false identification card.

Underage Drinking

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd Offense Subsequent Offense
Fine $0 - $500 $0 - $1000 $0 - $1000
Jail 0 - 90 days 0 - 1 year 0 - 1 year
License Suspension at least 90 days at least 1 year at least 2 years

By law, the local police department and University Police are required to notify parents or guardians of all underage-drinking violations.

Penn State University has a zero-tolerance policy associated with students consuming beverage alcohol under the age of 21. Not only is this against the Pennsylvania law, but it is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Carrying False I.D.

It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess an identification card falsely identifying that person by name, age, date of birth, or photograph as being 21 or older to attempt to obtain liquor, malt, or brewed beverage by using the identification card of another or by using an identification card that has not been lawfully issued to or in the name of the person who possesses the card.

Carrying False I.D.

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd Offense Subsequent Offense
Fine $0-$300 $0-$500 $0-$500
Jail 0-90 days 0-1 year 0-1 year
License suspension at least 90 days at least 1 year at least 2 years

Public Drunkenness

It is illegal to appear in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that you may endanger yourself or other persons or property, or annoy others in your vicinity.

Public drunkenness is a crime when a person appears in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity.

Public drunkenness also leads to other behaviors and important health concerns. Often, public drunkenness contributes to many criminal mischiefs and disorderly conducts on campus. People must be responsible for their own actions and know their limits and tolerance levels before consuming alcohol.

Public Drunkeness

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd Offense Subsequent Offense
Fine $0-$500 $0-$1000 $0-$1000
Jail 0-90 days 0-90 days 0-90 days

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Law

In Pennsylvania, the illegal level for DUI is .08 percent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and .02 percent BAC for minors. The law emphasizes treatment and a three-tier penalty system based on BAC and prior offenses: (1) general impairment (.08-.099 percent), (2) high rate of alcohol (.10-.159 percent), and (3) highest rate of alcohol (.16 percent and above).

Also, drivers with any amount of a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substance not medically prescribed (or their metabolites) may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle.

It is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or higher. A first-time offense individual, under certain circumstances, may qualify for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Law

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd Offense Subsequent Offense
Fine $0-$5000 $750-$5000 $1500-$5000
Jail 2 days to 6 months 30 days to 6 months 90 days to 5 years
License suspension 1 year 1 year 18 months
Other Alcohol Highway Safety School
Court Reporting Network file
1 year Ignition Interlock license
Alcohol Highway Safety School
Court Reporting Network file
1 year Ignition Interlock license
Court Reporting Network file

Refusing a Chemical Test

Any person who drives a motor vehicle automatically gives consent to one or more chemical test (e.g. breath, blood, or urine). This implied consent means that you don’t have the right to an attorney before testing. If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test: (1) the test will not be done; (2) the person may be charged with DUI. For more information about all alcohol-related offenses and resources in Pennsylvania, see www.lcb.state.pa.us/PLCB/Education/index.htm.

Open Container Law

In Pennsylvania, there is no state law to prohibit open containers of alcohol in public. However, many local governments have enacted such ordinances. For more information about all alcohol-related offenses in Pennsylvania, see www.lcb.state.pa.us.

Related Drug Offenses

Possession of Marijuana

A person is unlawful when unknowingly, knowingly, or intentionally possesses marijuana (Hashish), a Schedule I substance, and is not authorized by law to possess such substance, as outlined under the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act of 1972.

Persons engaged in such activity will most likely be faced with criminal charges and charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Charges for marijuana possession

Quantity Charge Jail Time Fine
30 grams or less Misdemeanor 30 days $0-$500
Over 30 grams Misdemeanor 1 year $0-$5000

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act went into effect on May 17, 2016. However, marijuana in any form remains a prohibited controlled substance under federal law, and therefore the possession, cultivation, and use by individuals remain illegal under federal law. The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act conflicts with federal criminal laws governing controlled substances, as well as federal laws requiring institutions receiving federal funds, by grant or contract, to maintain drug-free campuses and workplaces. Penn State receives federal funding that would be in jeopardy if those federal laws did not take precedence over state law. Therefore, the use and/or possession by individuals of marijuana in any form and for any purpose continues to violate applicable University policies, and any student or employee who violates such policies will be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

Possession of Other Drugs

In Pennsylvania, the penalties for being convicted of possession of a controlled substance such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, prescriptions, ecstasy, and LSD vary by type of substance and quantity of the substance possessed. Charges also vary by first, second and subsequent offenses. Charges may include jail time, fines, drug counseling, and suspension of driver’s license.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

A person is unlawful when he possesses, with the intent to use, drug paraphernalia that is used for packaging, manufacturing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act of 1972.

Synthetic Marijuana

Effective March 1, 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classified synthetic marijuana as an illegal substance. It is also known as Spice, K2, Demon, Wicked, Black Magic, Voodoo Spice, and Ninja Aroma Plus. Individuals found responsible for manufacturing, possessing, importing/exporting, or distributing these substances will face criminal and civil penalties. Penn State students engaging in these activities will also be held responsible under the University’s illegal substances policy. It is also against University policy to use synthetic marijuana.

Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — The CSA places all substances that are regulated under existing federal law into one of five schedules. The place is based on the substance’s medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence ability. Below is a description of the five schedules and examples of drugs in each schedule. The list is not comprehensive.

The Five Schedules of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)

Schedule Characteristics Examples
Schedule 1 • high potential for abuse
• no currently accepted medical use in the US
• lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision
• Heroin
• Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)
• LSD
• Marijuana
• MDMA (Ecstasy)
• Mescaline (peyote)
• Psilocybin/Psilocyn (mushrooms)
• Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Schedule 2 • high potential for abuse
• currently accepted for medical use or with severe restrictions in the US
• abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence
Adderall®
• Amphetamine
• Cocaine
• Fentanyl
• Hydrocodone
• Methadone
• Methamphetamine
• Morphine
• Oxycodone
• Phencyclidine (PCP)
• Ritalin®
Schedule 3 • less potential for abuse than drugs in Schedules I and II
• currently accepted for medical use in the US
• abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence
• Anabolic Steroids
• Codeine compounds
• Some barbiturates
• Ketamine
Schedule 4 • low potential for abuse compared to drugs in Schedule III
• currently accepted medical use in the US
• abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence
• Ativan®
• Rohypnol® (not manufactured or
legally marketed in the US)
• Valium®
• Xanax®
Schedule 5 • low potential for abuse compared to drugs in Schedule IV
• currently accepted medical use in the US
• abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence
• Cough medicines with codeine

Source: U.S. Department of Justice. (2015). Drugs of Abuse. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/.

Federal Tracking Penalties for Marijuana

Drug Quantity 1st Offense 2nd Offense (Footnote)
Marijuana
(Schedule I)
1,000 kg or more mixture;
or 1,000 or more plants
•Not less than 10 yrs, not more than life
• If death or serious injury, not less than 20 yrs, not more than life
• Fine not more than $10 million if an individual, $50 million if other than an individual
• Not less than 20 yrs, not more than life
• If death or serious injury, mandatory life
• Fine not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if other than an individual
Marijuana
(Schedule I)
100 kg to 999 kg mixture;
or 100 to 999 plants
• Not less than 5 yrs, not more than 40 yrs
• If death or serious injury, not less than 20 yrs, not more than life
• Fine not more than $5 million if an individual, $25 million if other than an individual
• Not less than 10 years, not more than life
• If death or serious injury, mandatory life
• Fine not more than $8 million if an individual, $50 million if other than an individual
Marijuana
(Schedule I)
More than 10 kgs of hashish;
50 to 99 kg mixture
More than 1 kg of hashish
oil; 50 to 99 plants
• Not more than 20 yrs
• If death or serious injury, not less than 20 yrs, not more than life
• Fine $1 million if an individual, $5 million if other than an individual
• Not more than 30 years
• If death or serious injury, mandatory life
• Fine $2 million if an individual, $10 million if other than individual
Marijuana
(Schedule I)
1 to 49 plants; less than
50 kg
• Not more than 5 years
• Fine not more than $250,000, $1 million other than individual
• Not more than 10 years
• Fine $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than individual
Hashish
(Schedule I)
10 kg or less • Not more than 5 years
• Fine not more than $250,000, $1 million other than individual
• Not more than 10 years
• Fine $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than individual
Hashish
(Schedule I)
1 kg or less • Not more than 5 years
• Fine not more than $250,000, $1 million other than individual
• Not more than 10 years
• Fine $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than individual

Footnote: The minimum sentence for a violation after two or more prior convictions for a felony drug offense has become final is a mandatory term of life imprisonment without release and a fine up to $8 million if an individual and $20 million if other than an individual.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice. (2015). Drugs of Abuse. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/.

The following tables list Federal Tracking Penalties for various drugs in different amounts.

The penalties for the first table are as follows:

First Offense: Not less than 5 yrs, and not more than 40 yrs. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 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 injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $8 million if an individual, $50 million if not an individual.

Federal Tracking Penalties

Drug Schedule Quantity
Cocaine
(Schedule II)
500–4999 gms mixture
Cocaine Base
(Schedule II)
28–279 gms mixture
Fentanyl
(Schedule II)
40–399 gms mixture
Fentanyl Analogue
(Schedule II)
10–99 gms mixture
Heroin
(Schedule I)
100–999 gms mixture
LSD
(Schedule I)
1–9 gms mixture
Methamphetamine
(Schedule II)
5–49 gms pure or 50–499
gms mixture
PCP
(Schedule II)
10–99 gms pure or
100–999 gms mixture

The penalties for the next table are as follows:

First Offense: Not less than 10 yrs, and not more than life. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 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 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.

Federal Tracking Penalties for Larger Quantities

Drug Schedule Quantity
Cocaine
(Schedule II)
5 kgs or more mixture
Cocaine Base
(Schedule II)
280 gms or more mixture
Fentanyl
(Schedule II)
400 gms or more mixture
Fentanyl Analogue
(Schedule II)
100 gms or more mixture
Heroin
(Schedule I)
1 kg or more mixture
LSD
(Schedule I)
10 gms or more mixture
Methamphetamine
(Schedule II)
50 gms or more pure or
500 gms or more mixture
PCP
(Schedule II)
100 gm or more pure or 1kg or more mixture

The following table lists other drugs and their penalties.

Federal Tracking Penalties for Other Drugs

Drug Schedule Quantity Penalties
Other Schedule
I & II drugs (and
any drug product
containing Gamma
Hydroxybutyric Acid)Flunitrazepam
(Schedule IV)
Any amount to 1 gm

First Offense: Not more than 20 yrs. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, 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 injury, life imprisonment. $2 million if an individual, $10 million if not an individual.

Other Schedule III
drugs
Any amount First Offense: Not more than 10 yrs. If death or serious injury, not more than 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.
All other Schedule
IV drugs
Any amount First Offense: Not more than 5 years. 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 not an individual.
Flunitrazepam
(Schedule IV)
Other than 1 gm or more First Offense: Not more than 5 years. 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 not an individual.
All Schedule V
drugs
Any amount 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.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice. (2015). Drugs of Abuse. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/.

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