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Drug, Tobacco, & Alcohol Policies and Support

If you struggle with a drug or alcohol use disorder, we’re here to help. Through our mental health services, we can connect you to counseling services or community resources.


You don’t have to do it alone. Connect with resources on campus and in the community who can support your recovery from drug or alcohol use disorder.

General Resources

Employee Assistance Program 
(for full-time employees)

Bay Area Council on Drug and Alcohol

Residential Treatment and Hospitals

Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

Campus Policies Regarding Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Our policies regarding illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages have been established by the Board of Trustees of San Jacinto College in compliance with state and federal law. According to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989, Public Law 101-226, the College will notify employees and students in writing of College standards of conduct, possible legal sanctions and penalties, health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse, the College’s programs, and disciplinary sanctions for violations. Each employee and student must sign their acknowledgement of receiving this notification.

State law prohibits individuals under 21 years of age from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages.

College policy prohibits all employees (full-time,part-time faculty,and staff) and students from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, possession, ingestion, or use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace, on College grounds, in College vehicles, at College-related or sponsored activities regardless of location, or while otherwise on duty. This policy prohibits all employees and students from reporting to work, class, or a College activity (including College athletics) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Finally, notwithstanding these prohibitions on use of drugs or alcohol, the Chancellor is authorized to permit the use, service, or consumption of alcohol for persons older than 21 at certain events.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are not prohibited when taken in standard dosage or according to a physician’s prescription. 

Employees who receive College funds for travel may not use the funds to buy alcoholic beverages. 

For more information on College standards of conduct regarding drugs and alcohol, please see the following on the Policies and Procedures page: (i) Policy VI-LL Policy on Alcohol Usage, (ii) Procedure 3-2, Drug-free Workplace, (iii) the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct (applicable to all students) and (iv) the Athletic Handbook (applicable to student athletes). 

Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is a primary and continuous depressant of the central nervous system. Impairment of judgment and of recently learned, complex, and finely tuned skills begins to occur at blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.025 percent. These impairments are followed by the loss of more primitive skills and functions, such as gross motor control and orientation at concentrations in excess of 0.05 percent. Alcohol in moderate doses impairs nearly every aspect of information processing, including the ability to abstract and conceptualize, the ability to use large numbers of situational cues presented simultaneously, and the cognitive ability to determine meaning from incoming information. Alcohol consumption can therefore promote action on impulse without full appreciation of, or concern about, the potential negative consequences of such action.

Chronic long-term effects of heavy drinking over a period of years can result in: brain damage; cancer of the mouth, esophagus, or stomach; heart disease; liver damage resulting in cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and cancer of the liver; peptic ulcer disease; and possible damage of the adrenal and pituitary glands. Prolonged, excessive drinking can shorten lifespan by 10-12 years.

Illicit Drugs
Illicit drugs include narcotics, such as heroin or morphine; depressants, such as barbiturates, Quaaludes, or Valium; stimulants, such as cocaine or “crack”; hallucinogens, such as PCP, LSD, or mescaline; cannabis, such as marijuana or hashish; inhalants, such as nitrous oxide, amyl nitrate (poppers), or various hydrocarbon solvents; and designer drugs, such as China White, methamphetamine (Ecstasy), or meperidine (Demerol).

Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that is often followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Tolerance may develop rapidly and dependence is likely. The use of contaminated syringes may result in diseases such as AIDS, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), and hepatitis.

The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and relaxed muscles but a somewhat larger dose can cause slurred speech, ataxia, or unstable gait and altered perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby increasing the risks. The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence.

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose with long-term use eroding the nasal septum. The injection of cocaine with unsterile equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly. Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures. Overdoses occur easily.

Phencyclidine (PCP) users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movement are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Speech is blocked and incoherent. Chronic PCP users report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties. Mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and violent behavior, may also occur. In late stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, heart failure, lung problems, and/or ruptured blood vessels in the brain. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors. Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. It is common to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control. Delayed effects or flashbacks can occur even after use has ceased.

The chemicals in most inhalants are rapidly absorbed in the lungs and exert their central nervous system effects within seconds, producing an altered mental state for about five to fifteen minutes. Immediate effects of inhalants include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nose bleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, and loss of appetite. Solvents and aerosol sprays can decrease the heart and respiratory rates and impair judgment. Amyl and butyl nitrate can cause rapid pulse, headaches, and involuntary passing of urine and feces.

Inhalation of toluene as well as other hydrocarbons has been associated with kidney and liver damage, peripheral nerve problems, convulsions, encephalopathy (organ brain damage), and other central nervous system disorders. Sudden death associated with both glue sniffing and especially the inhalation of aerosols containing halogenated hydrocarbons (Freon) has been reported and is thought to be secondary to cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal electrical conduction patterns in the heart).

The short-term effects of marijuana include distortion of time perception, increased heart rate, dilation of blood vessels, and loss of short-term memory. It can also cause decreased visual perception and psychomotor skills, which have adverse effects on driving ability. The effects of long-term use include loss of motivation, chronic bronchitis, decreased vital lung capacity, and an increased risk of lung cancer. Tolerance and psychological dependence do develop with marijuana.

Designer Drugs and Other Drugs of Concern
Designer drugs are synthetic chemical modifications of older drugs of abuse that are designed and manufactured in covert laboratories and sold at great profit for recreational use. These drugs can be several hundred to several thousand times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Designer drugs similar to opiates include fentanyl, Demerol, and “China White.” The narcotic analogs of designer drugs can cause symptoms such as those seen in Parkinson’s disease: uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage. Analogs of amphetamines and methamphetamines cause blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, irritability, depression, and paranoia. Withdrawal problems include sweating, diarrhea, fever, insomnia, irritability, nausea and vomiting, and muscle and joint pain.

Some substances are not currently controlled by the Controlled Substances Act but still pose a risk to individuals who abuse them. The drugs include but are not limited to bath salts or designer cathinones (synthetic stimulants), DXM (a cough suppressor), and Salvia Divinorum (an herb abused for its hallucinogenic effects). Use of synthetic stimulants may cause agitation, insomnia, irritability, dizziness, depression, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, or panic attacks. Use of DXM may cause confusion, agitation, paranoia, or hallucinations. Over-the-counter products that contain DXM often contain other ingredients that have their own effects, such as liver damage, rapid heart rate, lack of coordination, vomiting, seizures, or coma. Use of salvia divinorum may cause loss of coordination, dizziness, or slurred speech.

General Disciplinary Procedure: In all cases of alleged violations of public law or student life policies, the College reserves the right to review the allegations and exercise disciplinary sanctions (if any) in addition to any proceedings that occur as a matter of public law. Disciplinary sanctions include, but are not limited to, reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Section 3.9 of the Student Code of Conduct addresses the subject of drugs and alcohol. The College will investigate all reported violations and will exercise professional judgment in the imposition of sanctions in accordance with the College’s prescribed disciplinary procedures. Students may receive College sanctions, criminal sanctions, or both. Disciplinary sanctions include, but are not limited to, reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion. 

The use, possession, or distribution of alcohol by any person, regardless of age, is strictly prohibited on College property. Alcohol usage is likewise prohibited at any off-campus activity when such activity, or the student’s participation therein, is under the sponsorship of the College or a student organization recognized by the College.

Controlled Substances
The unlawful use, possession, or distribution of controlled substances by any person on college property is strictly prohibited. The College’s policy also applies to students participating in off-campus activities when the activity itself, or the student’s participation, is under the sponsorship of the College or a student organization recognized by the College.

Students determined to be in violation of this regulation are subject to severe disciplinary sanctions which include permanent suspension from the College. When such violations also constitute violations of public law, charges will be filed by the College for prosecution by the appropriate law enforcement agency. Under public law, conviction for the unlawful use, possession, or distribution of illicit drugs is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Observance of the policy regarding alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs is a condition of employment for all College employees. An employee violating this policy shall be subject to employment discipline up to and including termination, or shall be required to undergo satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

Any employee directly engaged in the performance of work pursuant to the provision of a federal grant or contract who is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute shall notify his or her immediate supervisor of the conviction no later than five days after the conviction. The immediate supervisor shall promptly report the conviction to the appropriate SLT member and to the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources. On behalf of the College the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources shall notify the federal agency grantor or contractor of the conviction within ten days of the College’s receipt of notice from the employee or of receipt of other actual notice.

Board Policy IV-C-7 and Human Resources Procedure 3-2 address the circumstances under which employees may be tested for unlawful use of drugs and alcohol. Find these documents on the Policies and Procedures page.

In recognition of these increasing problems with alcohol and substance abuse, education has been, and will continue to be, the primary focus of the College’s efforts. Providing honest, factual information through organized educational programs will help people make reasonable decisions regarding the use of chemical substances. This includes information about illegal substances and their effects, and about the establishment of responsible drinking behavior for those who choose to use alcoholic beverages.

Students who desire confidential assistance from the College in dealing with a perceived alcohol or chemical substance abuse problem may self-refer for that assistance by making an appointment with a counselor in the Educational Planning & Counseling Center. Although the College does not conduct treatment or rehabilitation programs, College counselors are equipped to facilitate referrals to appropriately qualified providers of treatment programs.

College employees with supervisory responsibilities must be aware of employee behavior related to unacceptable job performance that may result from drug or alcohol abuse. Assistance beyond preliminary counseling through the employee assistance program is available to College employees through the College’s group health insurance program. Alcohol and drug abuse seminars are among the services provided cost-free to College employees. Other services for employees with a chemical dependency are available in the community, including private practitioners offering individual counseling, self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and patient/outpatient treatment at various health care facilities.

It is the intent of San Jacinto College to strive for a drug-free district and to comply with state and federal regulations regarding prevention programs established to eliminate the illegal use of drugs and alcohol abuse. In addition, the College will conduct a biennial review of this program implemented to provide a learning and working environment free of unlawful drug use and alcohol abuse. The purpose of the biennial review will be to: (1) determine the effectiveness of the program and implement needed changes; and (2) ensure that the sanctions included in the program are consistently enforced. The Vice Chancellor, Human Resources will be responsible for initiating the biennial review. 

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program 
Biennial Review 2020-2022

View Report


Legal Sanctions and Penalties

City of Houston Ordinance

Offense: Possession, provision, sale, barter, production, manufacture, or distribution of any illicit synthetic drug

  • Maximum Punishment: Fine not to exceed $2,000

Offense: Offering, displaying, marketing, or advertising for sale any illicit synthetic drug

  • Maximum Punishment: Fine not to exceed $2,000

Offense: Purchasing with the intent to provide, sell, barter, produce, manufacture, or distribute any illicit synthetic drug

  • Maximum Punishment: Fine not to exceed $2,000

Offense: Failure to publicly display or label herbal incense

  • Maximum Punishment: Fine not to exceed $2,000

Offense: Solicitation to purchase or acquire a controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, dangerous drug or volatile chemical

  • Minimum Punishment: Fine not less than $100
  • Maximum Punishment: Fine not to exceed $2,000

Texas Law

Offense: Possession of salvia divinorum

  • Minimum Punishment: Confinement in jail term of 6 months –20 years and fines from $2,000--$10,000
  • Maximum Punishment: Confinement in jail term of 5-99 years and fine not to exceed $50,000</p>

Tobacco Use

Tobacco free and vaping free sign

Smoke-Free College

San Jac is a smoke-free and tobacco-free college, except in designated areas. This includes smoking and vaping.

"Smoking" means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or vaporizing. It also includes using liquid nicotine, electronic devices, and any form of tobacco — synthetic or other plant-based substances.

"Tobacco Products" means all forms of tobacco and nicotine-delivery devices including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, and electronic and smokeless tobacco products, including liquid nicotine and chewing tobacco. This does not apply to smoking cessation items such as chewing gum, patches, or medication.

For more details, reference the tobacco policy and procedures.

Designated smoking areas:
Central Campus
Generation Park Campus
Maritime Campus
North Campus
South Campus