Program for Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Misuse & Abuse

Program for Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Misuse and Abuse

The Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (“Amendments”) require that colleges adopt and implement a program for prevention of the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on-campus or as part of college activities that occur off-campus.[1]  These efforts and underlying policy are reviewed regularly and amended or revised in accordance with our experience and with changes in applicable local, state, or federal laws and regulations. 

Students should note in particular that under New York law possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 with the intent to consume the beverage is unlawful and for those over 21, a college I.D. is not acceptable proof of age.

Any inquiries about the program may be made to the Office of Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program (ASAP) (x42128); Rosemary Furman Counseling Center (x42092); Barnard College Primary Care Health Service (x42091); Community Conduct (x40037); Human Resources (x42551), and the Office of the General Counsel (x42088).  We encourage anyone who believes that he or she has a problem with misuse or abuse of alcohol or other substances to seek assistance or referral through these offices or through the services listed in the attached statement.

Following is the policy adopted by Barnard, which applies to all of the College’s students, faculty members, and staff members.  All community members are encouraged to carefully review this information.



Barnard College Policy Statement

Pursuant to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

Amendments of 1989

Policy Statement

Barnard College is committed to creating for its students, faculty and staff an environment in which the misuse of alcohol and drugs is minimized, which encourages moderation, safety and individual accountability, and which provides an atmosphere free of coercion and peer pressure to misuse alcoholic beverages (“alcohol”), prescription medication, or use unlawful drugs.  Barnard strongly supports educational and treatment programs as the most effective means to help reduce and prevent alcohol and drug abuse.  At the same time, the College prohibits the misuse or unlawful possession or distribution of alcohol and prescription medications, as well as, unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs by students, faculty members, or staff members while on College property or while participating in College-sponsored activities or conducting College business off-premises.

In developing this policy, we acknowledge that we cannot guarantee that policies or laws concerning the use of alcohol, medications, or illegal substance use will be observed by everyone at the College.  Instead, we must also rely on the judgment of students, faculty and staff to be mindful of the health, safety and well-being of themselves, and of their friends and guests, by observing the laws and policies contained in this statement.

Standards of Conduct

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs on College premises or at College activities are strictly prohibited.  The unlawful possession, misuse or distribution of prescription medication is also prohibited.

The sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages on College premises or at related College activities must comply fully with all applicable laws as well as College Policy.  Students should be familiar with College Policy, including Residential Life and Housing Policy, both can be found online within the student handbook at:

Legal Requirements Related to Alcoholic Beverages

New York State law provides that:

1.     Alcoholic beverages shall not be provided under any circumstances by any licensed server to any person under the age of 21 or to anyone who is disorderly, visibly intoxicated, or known to be a habitual drunkard.

2.     No person under 21 years of age may misrepresent her/his age for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages, nor may a person assist another in such a misrepresentation.

3.     Proof of age must include presentation of a valid American or Canadian driver's license or nondriver identification card, a valid passport, or a valid identification card issued by the United States Armed Forces. No person under 21 years of age shall provide false or written evidence of age for the purpose of attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages.

4.     No person under the age of 21 may possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it.

5.     Actions or situations that involve forced consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization are prohibited.

6.     Alcoholic beverages may not be served where money changes hands (sale of drinks, admission charged, donations solicited, etc.) without the appropriate license or permit.

7.     Events that involve money changing hands require a Temporary Beer and Wine Permit issued by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. (This includes ‘free’ events provided by an organization that charges a membership fee). 

8.     In premises that hold a New York State Liquor License (limited areas, contact Events Management), all individuals and groups must adhere to the provisions of the license. No unauthorized alcohol may be brought into such areas.

9.     In unlicensed premises, beer or wine may be sold or dispensed only if a Temporary Beer and Wine Permit issued by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is obtained. Hard liquor is not permitted at any events.

10.  Appropriate posted warnings about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy must appear at all events where alcohol is served.

Violation of these New York laws may subject the violator to legal penalties that range from confiscation of the beverage by a police officer to suspension of one's driver's license to fine or imprisonment. Moreover, within the College or University the illegal or wrongful possession, provision, or consumption of alcohol will lead to proceedings in accordance with the procedures of the respective school or administrative unit, which can include the requirement for the student to receive psychological or medical assessment and/or counseling and appropriate treatment. Disciplinary action may result in suspension or expulsion or the referral of violators for criminal prosecution. Employees should also note that they may not report to work or be at work while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

College Policy

In addition, Barnard College is committed to providing an academic and social environment that supports individual freedom while promoting individual responsibility, health and safety, and community welfare. To that end:

1.     Barnard expects that those who wish to include alcohol as part of their activities will do so responsibly and lawfully. Responsible drinking includes making sound judgments about whether, when, and how much to drink, understanding the health issues related to the consumption of alcohol, and avoiding excessive or "binge" drinking or any other abuse of alcohol that negatively affects one's academic, work, social, athletic, or personal activities, and health.

2.     Persons planning events on campus should be mindful of the complexities introduced into planning an event with alcohol. Event manage­ment issues-the presentation of entertainment, provision of refreshments, management of the participants or audience, security, and other factors-require serious attention for any event, and all the more for an event at which alcohol is served. Event organizers must fully understand the Barnard College and Columbia University alcohol policies and applicable laws to manage their events accordingly. They also are expected to keep the safety and well-being of participants at the forefront of their planning and management of events. Staff members who advise students are expected to assist them in making responsible decisions about their events and to facilitate the enforcement of College and University alcohol policy.  Details regarding registration and planning requirements can be found on the Barnard Events Management website, at the University Events Management website and at the Columbia Student Affairs Events Planning webpage (for Student Organizations).

3.     Organizations may not plan events that promote or encourage the consumption of alcohol, nor may event planning be based upon the assumption of abusive or illegal alcohol consumption. Persons planning events should rem­ember that the vast majority of events at Barnard take place without alcohol; that most members of the undergraduate community are not of legal drinking age; and that among those who are, many choose not drink alcoholic beverages at all. Campus organizations that do choose to plan events with alcoholic beverages available are expected to maintain a reasonable balance in their programming between events with and without the serving of alcoholic beverages.


Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use

The following are summaries provided by the federal government of the health risks associated with illicit drug use and alcohol abuse.  These are an overview and each individual will experience impact of the drug or alcoholic beverage in a different way given his or her physical and psychological characteristics.

Health Issues Related to Alcohol Use

Alcoholic consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior.  Even low doses significantly impair judgment and reduce the coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident.  Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information.  Very high doses, which differ greatly for different people, can cause respiratory depression and death.  If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described. 

Alcohol misuse and abuse, including excessive or "binge" drinking, can seriously affect academic, athletic, and work performance while leading to behaviors that are destructive, violent, or asocial. In particular, recent studies have revealed a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and instances of wrongful or inappropriate sexual behaviors.  Studies show that people who consume large amounts of alcohol, or binge drink, are more likely to struggle with mental health problems.  Alcohol misuse or abuse can be a contributory factor in some mental illnesses, such as depression. 

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence.  Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions.  Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.  Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome.  These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation.  In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

Health Issues Related to Drug Use

While adverse health effects may vary depending on the substance, most drugs can produce one or more of the following reactions: headache, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, damage to organs, addiction, and, in extreme cases, death. Interactions between drugs and alcohol can be especially extreme. Moreover, the use of drugs can result in asocial or violent behaviors and can have a severe negative effect on personal development, schoolwork, and job performance.

Health Issues Related to Prescription Drug Misuse

It is unhealthy and unsafe to take prescription drugs outside of the purpose for which it was prescribed. Some prescription medicines can be addictive, especially stimulants, painkillers, and sedatives/anti-anxiety medications. Self-medication is very dangerous and only your prescribing practitioner can decide how much of a medication you should take - this means taking the right amount at the right time, as well as adhering to the expiration date and disposing of pills appropriately.

Information and referrals for outside support and treatment options are available to students through the Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program.

College Sanctions

Members of the College community who violate College policy will be subject to discipline.  Guests, visitors, or vendors may be asked to leave and prohibited from returning to College property.  Taking into account the circumstances of each case, sanctions for students may range from warnings to expulsion from the College, and sanctions for faculty and staff members may range from warnings to termination.  At the discretion of the College, as an alternative to, or in addition to any disciplinary action taken, students or employees may be required to participate in and to complete satisfactorily an appropriate educational, counseling or rehabilitation program.  Records of discipline may be maintained in a student’s record or an employee’s personnel file.  Enforcement of these sanctions will be through the College’s existing disciplinary procedures for students, faculty, and staff, as appropriate.

Criminal Sanctions

The unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol is punished by harsh sanctions by the State of New York and by the United States Government.

Where illicit drugs are involved, the seriousness of the offense and the penalty imposed upon conviction usually depends upon the individual and the amount of the drug held or sold.  For example, in New York State the criminal possession of four or more ounces of cocaine is a Class A-1 felony, punishable by a minimum of 15 to 25 years, and a maximum of life in prison.  Fines of up to $100,000 may also be imposed.  The sale of two or more ounces of cocaine will be similarly treated.  The criminal possession of more than eight ounces of marijuana is a Class E felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 as is the sale of more than 25 grams of marijuana.  It is important to be aware that, in New York, even giving or sharing drugs, including marijuana, is treated as a sale.

A person 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, for instance, is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of each passenger unless the substance is concealed on the person of one of the occupants.  Similarly, the presence of certain substances, including marijuana, in open view in a room under circumstances demonstrating intent to prepare the substance for sale is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of anyone in close proximity.

Criminal penalties may also result from the misuse of alcoholic beverages.  In New York, if one gives or sells an alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age, the person commits a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  The sale of any kind of alcoholic beverage without a license or permit is also a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, a jail term, or both.  Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing alcoholic beverages with intent to consume them.  Each violation is punishable by a $50 fine.  The beverages may also be seized and destroyed by appropriate internal or external authorities.  An individual can be fined up to $100 and/or required to perform community service and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program if he or she is under 21 and presents a falsified proof of age when attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages. A person can have a driver’s license suspended between 90 - 180 days if he or she is under 21 and uses a driver’s license to try to purchase alcohol illegally.

These are only examples of the criminal penalties that can be assessed against a person for the illegal possession, use, and distribution of alcoholic beverages and drugs.  Further information regarding Federal penalties can be found on the web at:

It is the College’s policy to discourage violations of federal, state, and local law by its employees and students.  Where appropriate, the College may refer employees and students who violate such laws for prosecution by the relevant governmental authorities and will cooperate fully with such authorities.

Counseling and Support Programs

Barnard College educates students about alcohol and drug use through specific programs throughout the year, such as programs in the residence halls, and through published information and other services offered by the offices of the Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program (ASAP), and the Primary Care Health Services.  Information and referrals for outside support and treatment options are available to students through the Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program.

Similarly, employees may seek the assistance of the Human Resources Department in locating appropriate services.  Labor unions may also be of assistance to their members.

There are a wide range of drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs in New York City.  The following is a sampling of the self-help and resource organizations which are located in New York and which offer services or referral information at little or no cost:


Al-Anon       212-941-0094
Alcoholics Anonymous Inter-Group     212-647-1680
Alcoholism Council of New York   212-252-7001
Cocaine Anonymous 800-347-8998
Marijuana Anonymous (12-Step Program) 212-459-4423
Nar-Anon  800-984-0066
 Narcotics Anonymous  212-929-6262
New York State HOPEline 877-8HOPENY  (877-846-7369)  

New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services                                             

In addition, there are numerous private and voluntary programs offering different types of alcohol and drug treatment services.  Most require payment or appropriate medical insurance. 

Additional information may be found online at the nation-wide treatment location web service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (

If you have any questions about these programs, or about any other aspect of this policy, please call:

1)   Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program (ASAP)            212-854-2128

2)   Rosemary Furman Counseling Center                                   212-854-2092

3)   Primary Care Health Service                                                 212-854-2091

4)   Human Resources                                                                 212-854-2551

5)  Executive Director for Equity                                                      212-854-0037

6)   Office of the General Counsel                                                212-854-2088



Policy Reviewed: July 2011; Policy Modified: April 2012; August 2013





[1] The Amendments further require that information about the program be distributed annually to every member of our community.  Such information must include the College’s policy statement about the unlawful use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or illicit drugs; and a description of the College’s disciplinary sanctions, applicable local, state, and federal criminal sanctions; the associated health risks of drug and alcohol abuse, and the available support services for help in dealing with problems of drug and alcohol abuse.