Drug Policy


In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, and as a Catholic, Jesuit institution, the Saint Joseph’s University alcohol and drug policies reinforce the University’s commitment to maintaining an environment that is dedicated to the physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological development of all persons. This Drug Policy is guided by the care and concern for the individual person and the welfare of others. The Alcohol Policy can be found here.

Any University student found in violation of this Policy may be subject to University disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to: Warning, Program Attendance or Facilitation, Writing Assignment, Discretionary Sanctions, Loss of Privileges, Counseling Assessments/Educational Meetings, Fines, Restitution, Administrative Relocation in University Housing, Disciplinary Probation, Deferred Suspension, Removal from University Residence, Suspension, Expulsion, Revocation of Admission and/or Degree, Withholding Degree.


The use, possession, or distribution of illegal narcotics or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by federal, state and/or local law, as well as the misuse of prescription drugs is prohibited and shall be referred to the Community Standards process. Drug paraphernalia may indicate illegal drug use, and possession may result in disciplinary action.

Use or possession of marijuana, including medical marijuana is strictly prohibited on campus. Any such use or possession is a violation of the Community Standards.

Examples of drug violations include, but are not limited to:

1. illegal or improper use, possession, cultivation, distribution, manufacture, or sale of any drug(s), including prescribed medications

2. illegal or improper use of solvents, aerosols, or propellants

3. administration or employment of drugs or intoxicants causing another person to become impaired without their knowledge


The welfare of each person in the Saint Joseph’s University community is paramount, and SJU encourages students to act as bystanders and offer help and assistance to others in need. Because the University understands that fear of disciplinary action may deter requests for emergency assistance, this statement was created to alleviate such concerns and reduce hesitation by SJU students to seek help. Students are expected to immediately report conduct or activity which poses a danger to the community or its members. For example, all students are expected to seek appropriate assistance for themselves or others in situations where help is needed to ensure proper care of a person who is significantly intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Students should not hesitate to seek help because of fear of disciplinary action.

In most circumstances, the help seeker and the student in need will not be charged with a policy violation through the University’s Community Standards process. In good faith reports regarding sexual harassment, hazing, or retaliation of the aforementioned, witness(es) and complainant(s)/victim(s) will not be charged with policy violations through the University’s Community Standards process for personal use of alcohol or drugs which are disclosed in the report.

Although students may be required to meet with a University official regarding the incident, Saint Joseph’s University will support and encourage this behavior by treating it as a health and safety matter, not as a disciplinary incident. In rare circumstances, such as cases of repeated, flagrant, or serious violations of the Community Standards (e.g., bodily harm, sexual misconduct, physical or verbal abuse or harassment, distribution of drugs, hazing, theft) or violations that caused the harm to another person requiring emergency response, conduct may be considered more than a health and safety matter.


Marijuana interferes with speech, memory, and learning, and makes tasks that require a clear mind difficult, meaningless, or unsafe. Marijuana also slows reactions and interferes with coordination. Marijuana’s dangers increase in combination with alcohol. Marijuana smoking poses a serious threat to the user’s lungs and heart and to the immune and reproductive systems. Edibles are another form of marijuana use. Marijuana edibles must first be digested before they are absorbed by the body, which may lead to a delay in feeling the effects of the drug and puts the individual at higher risk for overconsumption.

Opioids including heroin, codeine, oxycodone and fentanyl, cause the body to have diminished pain reactions, and can cause physical dependence. Opioids are respiratory depressants and their use can be associated with coma and death.

Depressants including barbiturates, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs, depress not only the activity of the brain, causing an effect on the heart and respiration, but also muscle tissues. Short-term physical effects include drowsiness, slurred speech, irritability, stupor, and impaired judgment, memory, and attention. Long-term effects include disrupted sleep, psychosis, respiratory depression, and coma, and neuropsychological and structural brain damage. Withdrawal can produce extreme anxiety, insomnia, convulsions, and death.

Hallucinogens such as LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide), disrupt the brain chemicals that enable us to make sense out of our environment. LSD and other hallucinogens are potent and extremely unpredictable drugs that produce fast acting and unexpected effects. The most common acute reactions are panic revolving around severe anxiety and intense fear of losing control and psychotic reactions involving severe breaks with reality and persistent hallucinations and delusions. Psychotic reactions have been known to last weeks or months and often require hospitalization. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even when use has ceased.

Inhalants such as cleaning fluids, solvents, aerosols and airplane glue, act on the central nervous system much like such volatile anesthetics as ether and chloroform and they produce bizarre perceptual and hallucinatory actions. Short-term physical effects include sneezing, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, rapid heartbeat and seizures. Psychological effects include confusion, disorientation, loss of inhibitions, and impulsive behavior that may lead to injuries and accidents. Long-term health risks include nosebleeds, loss of consciousness, hepatitis, liver failure, kidney failure, respiratory depression, blood abnormalities, irregular heartbeat, and possible suffocation.

Cocaine/crack use includes among its immediate effects dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature, followed by depression. Crack, or freebase rock cocaine, causes physical dependence quickly, and can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, convulsions, and death.

Amphetamines and amphetamine-like stimulants such as diet pills, methamphetamine or speed, and some ADHD medications (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta) can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, as well as increased energy, nervousness, and insomnia. High dose usage is associated with rapid breathing, loss of coordination, aggressive or violent behavior, panic, paranoia, psychosis, addiction and heart failure.


To reflect its commitment to alcohol and drug awareness, the University calls upon key individuals and departments to educate the University community on the dangers of alcohol abuse and drug use:

• The Office of Student Outreach and Support coordinates alcohol and drug education and programming as well as materials to assist students with issues concerning alcohol and drug usage.

• Members of the Division of Student Life and the Office of Public Safety & Security assist in implementing and enforcing the policy.

• The Advisory Council on Alcohol, Drugs, and Student Health assists the Vice President for Student Life/Associate Provost by making recommendations for an overall vision and plan for the wellness, alcohol, and drug education needs of Saint Joseph’s University.

The University makes available to all students Counseling and Psychological Services; a counseling office staffed principally by licensed mental health professionals. A staff psychologist with a particular focus on substance abuse issues is included. For students engaged in counseling at the center, the services of a qualified psychiatrist are also available. The University strongly urges its students to take advantage of these services.

Campus Resources:
• Office of Student Outreach and Support – 610-660-3462
• Student Health Center – 610-660-1175
• Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – 610-660-1090
• Narcotics Anonymous (on-campus) – 610-660-3462 [contact the Office of Student Outreach and Support for more information]

Local Resources:
Narcotics Anonymous

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Biennial Review provides more detailed information about Saint Joseph’s University alcohol and drug programs.


Students are expected to comply with applicable laws regarding the unlawful use, possession or sale of illicit drugs and alcohol. Students may be subject to both institution and criminal sanctions as provided by federal, state, and local law.

Pennsylvania State Penalties

The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P.S. § 780-101 et seq. Prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale or acquisition by misrepresentation or forgery of controlled substances except in accordance with the Act, as well as the knowing possession of controlled substances unlawfully acquired. Penalties for first-time violators of the Act range from 30 days imprisonment, a $500 fine or both for possession or distribution of a small amount of marijuana or hashish, not for sale, to 15 years imprisonment or a $250,000 fine or both for the manufacture or delivery of a Schedule I or II narcotic.

18 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 6314, 6317. A person over eighteen years of age who is convicted for violating The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, shall be sentenced to a minimum of a least one year total confinement if the delivery or possession with intent to deliver of the controlled substance was to a minor. If the offense is committed within 1,000 feet of the real property on which a university is located, the person shall be sentenced to an additional minimum sentence of at least 2 years total confinement.

The Pharmacy Act of 1961, 63 P.S. § 390-8. It is unlawful to procure or attempt to procure drugs by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge or by forgery or alteration of a prescription. The first offense is a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. For each subsequent offense, the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment, a $15,000 fine, or both.

The Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3802 et seq. A person is prohibited from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or both, if the driver is thereby rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle or if the alcohol concentration in the individual’s blood or breath exceeds the stated limits. Penalties for first-time violators of the Act range from probation and a $300 fine or both to a maximum of six months imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both. Penalties for subsequent violations increase to a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both. In addition to the above penalties, the court has discretion to order any or all of the following: highway safety training, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, use of an ignition interlock device and/or suspension of operating privileges.

Drugs-Federal Penalties and Sanctions: Illegal Possession or Trafficking of a Controlled Substance

21 U.S.C.A. §844 (a). For a first conviction, any person who violates this subsection may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year and a fine of $1,000, or both. After one prior conviction for any drug, narcotic or chemical offense, a term of imprisonment of at least 15 days, not to exceed 2 years and a fine of at least $2,500. After two or more prior convictions under this subchapter, a term of imprisonment of at least 90 days, not to exceed 3 years, and a fine of at least $5,000.

A person convicted for the possession of a mixture or substance which contains cocaine base shall be imprisoned for at least 5 years and not more than 20 years, and a fine of a minimum of $1,000, if: (i) the conviction is a first conviction and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 5 grams; (ii) after a second conviction and the amount of mixture or substance exceeds 3 grams, and; (iii) after a third or subsequent conviction and the amount of mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram.

Any person convicted under this subsection for the possession of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) shall be imprisoned for not more than 3 years, and a fine of at least $5,000.

21 U.S.C.A. §§ 853 (a)(2) Property subject to criminal forfeiture. Any person convicted of a violation of this subchapter punishable by imprisonment for more than one year shall forfeit any personal property used, or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C.A. § 881 (a) (4) (7) Subject Property. Forfeiture of all conveyances, including vehicles, boats, aircraft which are used, or are intended for use, to transport, or to aid in the transportation, sale, receipt, possession, or concealment of all controlled substances or raw materials, products and equipment of any kind which are used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing, or exporting any controlled substance or listed chemical.

21 U.S.C.A. § 862 Drug Possession. Any person who is convicted under State or Federal law involving the possession of a controlled substance shall be ineligible for any or all Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts and professional and commercial licenses, for up to 1 year. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense, a person shall be ineligible for all Federal benefits for up to 5 years.

Drug Trafficking. Any person who is convicted under State or Federal law involving the distribution of controlled substances shall be ineligible for any and all Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts and professional and commercial licenses, for up to 5 years. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense, a person shall be ineligible for all Federal benefits for up to 10 years; and upon a third or subsequent conviction, be permanently ineligible for all Federal benefits.

18 U.S.C.A. § 922 (g). It is unlawful for any person who is an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance to possess, receive or transport any firearm or ammunition.