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Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Porterville College

Stay Safe Campaign

Introduction

PC recognizes that illegal or abusive use of alcohol and other drugs by members of the college community has a detrimental effect on the college’s commitment to provide continual excellence in teaching, research and education. Misuse of drugs by students, faculty and staff members poses hazards both to the individual involved and to the community. Students, faculty and staff share the responsibility for creating attitudes conducive to eliminating the abuse of alcohol and other drugs within the college community.

Health risks associated with alcohol and other drugs

Substance abuse involves the chronic use of alcohol and drugs. A person who abuses alcohol has a greater risk of using at least one other substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Prolonged consumption of drugs and alcohol increases your tolerance, requiring more of the substance to achieve the same desirable.

Alcohol and substance abuse can start as a mild problem and gradually turn into more severe problems. For example, a person may mix small amounts of alcohol with a drug. Over time, their body becomes dependent on the chemicals released by each substance and begins craving more. After you’ve built a tolerance to both substances, you may increase the amount consumed to avoid experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. In these cases, some individuals may turn to more addictive substances – heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy – to experience an intensified high.

Recognizing the warning signs of alcohol and substance abuse is key to getting help early. If left untreated over a long period of time, problems with drinking and drugs can escalate and become life-threatening.

The following summaries describe some of the additional substance-specific risks associated with the use and misuse of alcohol and other substances.

Alcohol

At-risk drinking can cause poor performance in school or at work, accidents, injuries, arguments, legal problems (including DUI), strained relationships, undesirable or even dangerous sex, and verbal or physical violence, including the perpetration of sexual assault. At-risk and other risky alcohol consumption patterns also contribute to sleep problems, prolonged intoxication, aka hangovers, cancer, liver disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Alcohol Dependence.

Alcohol consumption is involved in most violent acts on campuses, including sexual assault, vandalism, fights, and accidents involving cars, pedestrians, and bicycles.

THC

THC and other Cannabinoids

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, and marijuana use may have a wide range of health effects on the body and brain.

Physical effects of use include breathing problems, increased heart rate, problems with child development during and after pregnancy, chronic use, intense nausea, and vomiting. Long-term marijuana use has been linked to impaired brain development in adolescents and mental illness in some people, such as temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, and worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.

Cocaine (crack and other stimulants)

The immediate effects of cocaine use include dilated pupils and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate followed by a crash when the drug wears off. Over the longer term, cocaine users often have nasal passage and nasal septum problems. There is a high rate of addiction among users.

Hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin)

Hallucinogens cause illusions and distortions of time and perception. The user may experience episodes of panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Flashbacks can occur even after use has stopped. PCP or phencyclidine has been shown to produce violent behaviors, leading to injuries to the user or a bystander.

Heroin (other opioids)

Heroin causes the body to experience diminished pain. If injected, it can result in blood vessel damage (and possibly the transmission of infections such as hepatitis and HIV if needles are shared). There is a high rate of addiction among users.

Tobacco

Tobacco (cigarettes, chew, and other products)

Tobacco use has been proven not only to be addictive but to have serious, well-documented health consequences. While many people, particularly students, look to smoking to reduce stress, it should be remembered that there is no comparison between the stress of facing emphysema or lung cancer and the stress of preparing for midterms. There is a high rate of addiction among users.

To provide a safe and healthy environment for all of our faculty, staff and students, PC maintains a smoke-free policy.

PC resources for faculty and staff

Employee Assistance Program provides counseling services for employees and retirees regarding relationship difficulties, marriage and family situations, stress or anxiety, and depression. Concerns such as alcohol and drug problems or family violence may also be discussed with an EAP counselor in this program. Employees who choose to use this service do so with the assurance that it is with confidentiality. When registering for EAP online, use the company code SISC to log in. To learn more about this plan, call 800-999-7222 or visit the EAP website.

Additional resources:

PC resources for students

For most new students, college also brings a newfound sense of freedom. For the first time, you are the sole person responsible for the decisions that will affect your day-to-day life. With this freedom, you will likely find yourself experiencing new things, new people, and new ideas. What may start off as casual drinking or experimentation can easily turn into an addiction.

Drug or alcohol assistance is available for students from a variety of sources. Anyone who recognizes a personal drug or alcohol problem is concerned about another student, or who may wish to know more about drug and alcohol abuse may contact:

PC policy on alcohol and other drugs for students

Unauthorized use, possession, or dissemination of alcohol, tobacco products, unauthorized or illegal drugs, or drug-related paraphernalia in the college community or at college-sponsored activities, is prohibited. See Student Code of Conduct.

PC policy on alcohol and other drugs for general personnel/administration

Refer to Kern Community College District Board Policy (7H) Drug-Free Workplace.

State and federal criminal sanctions

The following is a summary of the state and federal criminal sanctions that may be imposed upon someone who violates the alcohol and other drug policy at PC or elsewhere in California.

  • A violation of California law for the unlawful sale of alcohol may include imprisonment in the county jail for six months, plus fines and penalties.
  • A violation of California law for alcohol use by obviously intoxicated individuals will vary with the particular circumstances. Still, it may include imprisonment in the county jail and substantial fines and penalties. Additionally, minors arrested for violations concerning the use of alcohol run the risk of having their driving privileges suspended or revoked until they are 18.
  • A violation of California law for the possession, use, and/or sale of narcotics, marijuana, and/or other illicit drugs includes imprisonment in the county jail or state prison for one to nine years, plus fines up to $100,000 for each count.
  • A violation of federal law for the possession, use, and/or sale of narcotics, marijuana, and/or other illicit drugs may include imprisonment in the federal penitentiary for one to fifteen years plus substantial financial penalties.
  • A violation of the law involving an individual being under the influence of a combination of alcohol and other drugs (itself potentially deadly) may increase criminal sanctions and penalties.
Stay Safe Campaign

Actions taken for policy violations

Student involvement in illegal underage consumption of alcohol or the manufacture, use, possession, distribution, or sale of illicit drugs is illegal and against college policy and will subject a student involved in such activity to disciplinary action. Depending on the nature of the violation, college sanctions may include educational intervention, suspension, or expulsion.

In addition to the sanctions imposed by the college, individuals who have violated state and federal law regarding possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol and other drugs may be referred by the appropriate authorities for arrest and prosecution.

When problems arise due to alcohol and other drug use and abuse, the college aims to provide employees, whenever possible, with options for assessment, recommendations, counseling, referrals, and/or treatment. If a faculty or staff member violates college policy, the individual may be subject to college disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal, in addition to federal, state, and municipal legal action and penalties. Thus, self-referral and early detection and referral are critical to the rehabilitation of employees.

Credits:

Created with images by jarmoluk - "alcohol drink glasses" • gjbmiller - "marijuana cannabis weed" • Alexas_Fotos - "cigarette broken unhealthy" • QuinceCreative - "gavel auction hammer" • geralt - "hand draw pen"