Information For The CUNY Community On The Risks And Consequences Of Drug And Alcohol Use


The City University of New York’s Policy on Drugs and Alcohol, adopted by the Board of Trustees on June 22, 2002 and amended on May 2, 2011, prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of drugs or alcohol by employees, students or visitors, on CUNY property, in CUNY buses or vans, or at CUNY-sponsored activities. It prohibits all students (regardless of their age) from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages in CUNY residence halls, except for students living in the Graduate School and University Center’s graduate housing facilities who may lawfully possess and consume alcoholic beverages. It also prohibits CUNY employees from illegally providing drugs or alcohol to CUNY students. As the Policy states, sanctions for violation of the Policy, following appropriate disciplinary proceedings, may include, in the case of students, expulsion from the university, and in the case of employees, termination of employment.

This document sets forth additional information required to be provided under federal law, including the legal sanctions for drug and alcohol use, health risks of such use, and information regarding available counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs.

Legal Sanctions

Federal and New York State laws make it a criminal offense to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess with intent to distribute, or simply possess a controlled substance. Such substances include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, PCP, marijuana, and a number of common pharmaceutical drugs if unlawfully obtained. The sanctions for violation of these laws, ranging from community service and monetary fines to life imprisonment, depend upon the particular offense, the drug type, and the drug quantity. Students convicted under these statutes may also forfeit federal financial aid eligibility.

Note that an individual need not be in actual physical possession of a controlled substance to be guilty of a crime. The unlawful presence of a controlled substance in an automobile is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of such substance by each passenger unless the substance is concealed on the person of one of the occupants. Similarly, the presence of certain substances in plain view in a room can sometimes be presumptive evidence of knowing possession of such substance by anyone in close proximity.

Further, pursuant to New York State law:

  • Any person under age 21 who is found to be in possession of alcohol with the intent to consume it may be punished by a fine and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or to provide up to 30 hours of community service. Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, § 65-c.

  • Giving or selling an alcoholic beverage to a person less than age 21 is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment up to one year. Penal Law § 260.20

  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated or while his ability to operate such vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, is subject to suspension or revocation of driving privileges in the State, monetary fines up to $1,000, and imprisonment for up to one year. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192

  • A person under 21 who presents false written evidence of age for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase any alcoholic beverage may be punished by a fine, community service and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program.  Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65-b(1). Possessing such false evidence may also be criminal possession of a forged instrument, which is a felony in New York, punishable by a fine of up to $5000, imprisonment up to 7 years, or both. Penal Law § 170.25.

  • Appearing in public under the influence of narcotics or a drug other than alcohol to the degree that a person may endanger him or herself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity, is a violation, punishable by a fine and imprisonment up to 15 days. Penal Law § 240.40

Health Risks

The following is a brief summary of some of the health risks and symptoms associated with use of many of the most-publicized drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. This information was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), and the Mayo Clinic.

Please note that individuals experience such substances in different ways based on a variety of physical and psychological factors and circumstances.

LSD (Acid)

LSD is one of the strongest mood-changing drugs, and has unpredictable psychological effects. With large enough doses, users experience delusions and visual hallucinations. Physical effects include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; sleeplessness; and loss of appetite.


Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug. Common health effects include heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large amounts can cause bizarre and violent behavior. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter.

MDMA (Ecstasy)

Ecstasy is a drug that has both stimulant and psychedelic properties. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision.


Heroin is an addictive drug. An overdose of heroin can be fatal, and use is associated – particularly for users who inject the drug – with infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.


Effects of marijuana use include memory and learning problems, distorted perception, and difficulty thinking and solving problems.


Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine but has long lasting and more toxic effects on the central nervous system. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity and decreases appetite. Chronic, long-term use can lead to psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and stroke.


PCP causes intensely negative psychological effects in the user. People high on PCP often become violent or suicidal.

Prescription Medications

Prescription drugs that are abused or used for nonmedical reasons can alter brain activity and lead to dependence. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (often prescribed to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (prescribed to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity). Long-term use of opioids or central service system depressants can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Taken in high doses, stimulants can lead to compulsive use, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures and irregular heartbeat.


Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. The tar in cigarettes increases a smoker's risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children.


Adverse effects of steroid use in males may include shrinking of the testicles and breast development. In females, adverse effects may include growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice. Other adverse effects can include severe acne, high blood pressure and jaundice. In some rare cases liver and kidney tumors or even cancer may develop.


Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious health problems, including cancer of the pancreas, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and liver, as well as breast cancer, pancreatitis, sudden death in people with cardiovascular disease, heart muscle damage leading to heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome in an unborn child, injuries due to impaired motor skills, and suicide.

Substance Abuse

You or someone you know may have a problem with drugs and alcohol if you/they are:

  • Using drugs and/or alcohol on a regular basis.
  • Losing control of the amount of drugs and/or alcohol used after being high or drunk.
  • Constantly talking about using drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Believing that drugs and/or alcohol are necessary in order to have fun.
  • Using more drugs and/or alcohol to get the same effects as in the past.
  • Avoiding people in order to get high or drunk.
  • Pressuring others to use drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Foregoing activities that were once priorities (i.e. work, sports, spending time with family and sober friends).
  • Getting into trouble at school, at work, or with the law.
  • Taking risks, including sexual promiscuity and driving while intoxicated.
  • Lying about things, including the amount of drugs and/or alcohol used.
  • Feeling hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol, please utilize the resources listed below.


Resources On Campus

For assistance and referrals, students should (1) consult the relevant college website; or (2) contact their Student Affairs Office and/or Counseling Center.

For assistance and referrals, employees should consult with their Human Resources office. Assistance is also available through union employee assistance programs or through the CUNY Work/Life Program.

CUNY Work/Life Program (800) 833-8707

Resources Off Campus

12 Step Recovery Programs

Narcotics Anonymous (212) 929-6262

Cocaine Anonymous (212) 262-2463

Marijuana Anonymous (917) 525-3653

Alcoholics Anonymous (212) 647-1680

Nicotine Anonymous (631) 665-0527

Al-Anon/Alateen (888) 425-2666

Detoxification and Outpatient/Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

New York County

Bellevue Hospital Center
462 First Ave.
New York, NY 10016
(212) 562-4141

Mount Sinai West
1000 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 523-4000
(212) 857-9990

Greenwich House, Inc.
190 Mercer Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-3400

Queens County

Flushing Hospital Medical Center
4500 Parsons Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 670-5078

Samaritan Village, Inc.
144-10 Jamaica Ave.
Jamaica, NY 11435
(718) 206-1990

Daytop Village, Inc.
316 Beach 65th St.
Far Rockaway, NY 11692
(718) 474-3800

Richmond County

Staten Island University Hospital
375 Seguine Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10309
(718) 226-2790

Richmond University Medical Center
427 Forest Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10301
(718) 876-2362

Camelot of Staten Island, Inc.
4442 Arthur Kill Road, Suite 4.
Staten Island, NY 10309
(718) 356-5100

Kings County

Kings County Hospital Center
606 Winthrop St.
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 245-2258

Interfaith Medical Center
1545 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11213
(718) 613-4330

Bridge Back to Life Center, Inc.
175 Remsen St., 10th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 852-5552

Bronx County

St. Barnabas Hospital
4535 East 183rd St.
Bronx, NY 10457
(718) 960-6636

Montefiore Medical Center
3550 Jerome Ave., 1st Floor
Bronx, NY 10467
(718) 920-4067

BronxCare Health System
1276 Fulton Ave., 7th Floor
Bronx, NY 10456
(718) 590-1800

Nassau County

Nassau University Medical Center
2201 Hempstead Tpke.
East Meadow, NY 11554
(516) 572-9402

Community Organization for Parents and Youth, Inc. (COPAY, Inc.)
21 North Station Plaza
Great Neck, NY 11020
(516) 466-2509

Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD)
1025 Old Country Road, Suite 221
Westbury, NY 11590
(516) 747-2606

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