Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Response Program
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign promotes an environment that discourages substance misuse, informs university community members about resources for preventing or treating substance misuse, and fosters healthy decisions about alcohol and other drugs.
University community members should familiarize themselves with the university’s standard of conduct relating to alcohol and other drugs, the disciplinary sanctions applicable to students and employees who violate that standard, and relevant state and federal criminal laws.
The information that follows is provided in support of the university’s commitment to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.
The university is concerned about your health and safety. Abuse of alcohol and controlled substances can seriously impair your health and your ability to work and study. It can also endanger the safety and well-being of others.
The university seeks to prevent substance misuse by:
- Promoting accurate information on drug use;
- Encouraging healthy use of leisure time through recreation and other activities;
- Enhancing skills for dealing with stress; and,
- Working through campus leaders and influencers to establish a healthy environment.
How drug use affects your health
Adverse health effects can range from nausea and anxiety to coma and death. There are risks associated with the chronic use of all psychoactive drugs, including alcohol. A pregnant woman who uses alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs exposes her fetus to serious risks, including miscarriage, low birth weight and brain damage.
Substance abuse may involve controlled substances, illegal drugs and alcohol—all of which pose a health risk. When drugs are used in combination with each other, their negative effects on the mind and body are often multiplied beyond the effects of the same drugs taken on their own.
Alcohol is the drug most frequently misused on college campuses. Even small amounts of alcohol significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car, increasing the chances of having an accident. Consumption of alcohol may be a factor in the incidence of aggressive crimes, including acquaintance sexual assault and domestic violence. Moderate to large amounts of alcohol severely impair the ability to learn and remember information. Because alcohol is a depressant, very large amounts can cause respiratory and cardiac failure, resulting in death.
Cannabis impairs short-term memory and comprehension. It can cause confusion, anxiety and, for some, lung damage and abnormalities of the hormonal and reproductive system. Hours after the feeling of getting high fades, the effects of the drug on coordination and judgment remain, heightening the risk of driving or performing other complex tasks. Cannabis, a fat-soluble substance, may remain in the body for weeks, and overuse can cause paranoia, panic attacks or psychiatric problems.
Club drugs refer to a wide variety of drugs including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, rohypnol, ketamine, methamphetamine and LSD, and are often used at raves, dance clubs and bars. No club drug is safe due to variations in purity, potency and concentration, and they can cause serious health problems or death. They have even more serious consequences when mixed with alcohol.
Depressants such as barbiturates, Valium and other benzodiazepines, quaaludes and other depressants cause disorientation, slurred speech and other behaviors associated with drunkenness. The effects of an overdose of depressants range from shallow breathing, clammy skin, dilated pupils, and weak and rapid pulse to coma and death.
Hallucinogens such as LSD, MDA, PCP (angel dust), mescaline and peyote can cause powerful distortions in perception and thinking. Intense and unpredictable emotional reactions can trigger panic attacks or psychotic reaction. An overdose of hallucinogens can cause heart failure, lung failure, coma and death.
Narcotics like heroin, codeine, morphine, methadone and opium cause such negative effects as anxiety, mood swings, nausea, confusion, constipation and respiratory depression. Overdose may lead to convulsions, coma and death. The risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS or other diseases increases significantly if you inject drugs and share needles, and there is a high likelihood of developing a physical and psychological dependence on these drugs.
Stimulants – cocaine, amphetamines and others – can cause agitation, loss of appetite, irregular heartbeat, chronic sleeplessness and hallucinations. Cocaine and crack cocaine are extremely dangerous and psychologically and physically addictive. An overdose can result in seizures and death.
Tobacco, with its active ingredient nicotine, increases heart rate and raises blood pressure. The tar in cigarette smoke is a major cause of cancer and other respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke can promote arteriosclerosis, and long-term effects of smoking include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, heart disease and lung cancer.
Drug and alcohol programs
The university provides educational programs and counseling to students who need support managing their substance use and students who are affected by the substance use of others. Support is available to address the use of alcohol, cannabis, and controlled substances or illegal drugs, as well as compulsive behaviors such as gambling, sex, or internet use. For confidential help with substance-related problems, students should contact the Counseling Center at (217) 333-3704. Additional university and community resources are also available.
The University of Illinois Counseling Center offers a variety of services for students who want to understand the consequences of their alcohol or substance use and learn about safer use.
- ACE IT
To promote a safer community for students, the university requires all first year students to attend ACE IT, an orientation program that uses interactive group discussion, which is led by fellow students, to examine what new students may encounter in the campus substance culture.
ACE IT uses an innovative harm reduction approach and does not lecture or preach abstinence. The primary goal is to ensure all students stay safe, healthy, and succeed academically.
The Counseling Center offers two workshops regularly. Please click the links below for what topics these workshops cover and for information about how to register.
Classes or organizations affiliated with the university can also request a personalized workshop about a variety of alcohol and other drug topics. To request a workshop, please complete this form at least two weeks in advance of when you would like the workshop.
- Additional Services
The Counseling Center also offers alcohol and other drug assessments, individual counseling, group counseling related to substance use, and referrals to community providers and facilities. For more information, please visit the Counseling Center’s website.
- ACE IT
The university encourages employees who have a problem with the use of controlled substances or alcohol to seek professional advice and treatment. A list of sources for counseling, rehabilitation and assistance programs may be obtained confidentially by calling the Faculty/Staff Assistance Services at 217-244-5312 or by visiting their website. Individuals may request this information themselves, or be directed to do so by a supervisor.
Standards of Conduct
The University of Illinois is committed to maintaining a drug- and alcohol-free environment for its students and employees in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. Students or employees who violate federal or state laws concerning drugs or alcohol are subject to criminal prosecution; those who violate university policies also are subject to institutional sanctions.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and is illegal. Consistent with that Act and the federal Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act, the university prohibits the unlawful or unauthorized possession, use, distribution, dispensation, sale, or manufacture of cannabis on University property or as part of any University activity. The passage of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in 2019, which legalizes certain activities related to cannabis under Illinois state law effective January 1, 2020, does not affect federal law or the university’s cannabis prohibition.
In addition, the university’s cannabis prohibition applies to both recreational and medical use. That means having a medical cannabis registry identification card under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act does not allow you to use or possess cannabis on University property (this includes but is not limited to outdoor spaces, classrooms, and residential halls) or as part of any University activity.
Students – Student Code
- § 1-305 Policy on Drugs
- § 1-306 Alcoholic Beverages – Preamble
- § 1-307 Alcoholic Beverages – General Rules
Among other things, this section specifies that "possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by students under twenty-one years of age is prohibited."
- § 1-308 Alcoholic Beverages – Special Rules Relating to University Property
- § 1-311 Certain Consequences of Disciplinary Action
This section includes the range of disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed for drug and alcohol related violations of the Student Code.
- §3-603 Access to Student’s Personally Identifiable Education Records
This section specifies that the university may contact the parents of students under the age of 21 for violations of the Student Code relating to the use of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Employees – Campus Administrative Manual
Imposition of disciplinary sanctions
Student disciplinary action
Students who violate university policies concerning drugs or alcohol are subject to university sanctions. The illegal possession, use, distribution, sale, making or manufacture of drugs by a university student raises the question of a student's fitness to continue at the university. University disciplinary action may be initiated for any of the prohibited activities.
Employee disciplinary action
Employees are subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal, for unauthorized consumption of intoxicating liquors on institutional time or property, inability to perform satisfactorily assigned duties as a result of drinking alcoholic beverages, illegal or excessive use of drugs, narcotics, or intoxicants or the unauthorized sale or distribution of drugs, narcotics, or intoxicants.
Legal sanctions under federal and state law
State law - alcohol
In Illinois, it is against the law to sell or deliver alcohol to anyone under 21 or to any intoxicated person. Violations can result in fines of up to $1,000 and one year in jail. It is also illegal for a person under 21 to present false identification in an attempt to purchase alcohol. On-campus violations are strictly enforced by University Police, and additional penalties may be imposed.
- The Secretary of State is authorized to suspend or revoke without a hearing the driver’s license or instruction permit of a person under 21 who has purchased or attempted to purchase alcohol from a duly licensed establishment or who has consumed alcohol on licensed premises.
- Local liquor commissioners have the duty to report to the Secretary of State any conviction for a violation of the Liquor Control Act, or a similar provision of a local ordinance, prohibiting a person under 21 from purchasing, accepting, possessing or consuming alcohol and prohibiting the transfer or alteration of identification cards, the use of the identification card of another or a false or forged identification card, or the use of false information to obtain an identification card.
- The Secretary of State is authorized to suspend or revoke the driver’s license or learner’s permit of any person convicted of violating any of the prohibitions listed above or similar provisions of local ordinances.
Substantial penalties exist in Illinois for the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Arrests are also possible at lower alcohol levels if driving is impaired. The first offense can result in a $1,000 fine, incarceration for up to one year, and suspension or revocation of the offender’s driver’s license. Subsequent offenses entail penalties of significantly greater severity. Transporting open alcohol containers in a motor vehicle is also punishable under Illinois law.
State law - drugs
Except as otherwise provided in the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act [410 ILSC 705], the possession, sale, and delivery of controlled substances is prohibited in Illinois under the Illinois Cannabis Control Act [720 ILCS 550/] and the Illinois Controlled Substances Act [720 ILCS 570/]. Under the Illinois Cannabis Control Act as amended by the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, courts can set penalties that increase in accordance with the amount of any substance containing cannabis in each case. In regard to both the Illinois Cannabis Control Act and the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, penalties vary with the amount of the drug confiscated, the type of drug found, the number of previous offenses held by the individual, and whether the individual intended to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to deliver [720 ILCS 550/4-10] [720 ILCS 570/401-408].
In addition to prohibiting the unlawful possession of controlled substances [21 U.S.C. 844], the federal Controlled Substance Act [Title 21 U.S.C.] prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or dispensation, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, of controlled substances [21 U.S.C. 841(a)]. The Act also prohibits the creation, distribution, or dispensation, or possession with intent to distribute or dispense, of counterfeit substances [21 U.S.C. 841(a)]. Individuals can be penalized on the quantity of confiscated drugs, the type of drug(s) found, the number of previous offenses by the individual, and whether the individual intended to manufacture, sell, or use the drug.
For additional information on federal drug trafficking penalties, see page 36 of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2020 Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide (pdf).