Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

We are committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff, and visitors. To carry out this commitment, we seek to assure that a drug-free environment is maintained and that students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff perform their duties unimpaired by the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and controlled substances. Controlled substances include all illegal drugs, as well as drugs that require a prescription for legal possession and use. 

Under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and Drug-Free Workplace Act, we are required to have an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program that includes information distributed annually about:

  • Institutional policies that prohibit use of drugs and alcohol and that WMed will impose sanctions for violations of the standards of conduct,
  • Legal sanctions for unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol,
  • Preventing drug and alcohol abuse,
  • Available resources for drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs,
  • Description of the health risks associated with use of illicit drugs and alcohol.

Our students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff receive information about our alcohol and drug abuse prevention program through the annual completion of a required computer-based learning module and distribution of printed materials.

Alcohol and Drug Policies

We comply with federal, state, and local laws including those that regulate the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances as well as the associated penalties. Such penalties, which include probation, fines, and/or imprisonment, may be imposed by judicial authorities on individuals who violate these laws, notwithstanding any penalty imposed by WMed.

  • Applicants for Hire and Employees
    All medical school employees (residents, fellows, faculty, and staff) are responsible for adhering to the Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace policy which includes prohibited conduct, testing, discipline procedures, and reporting.
  • Applicants and Students
    The Medical Student and Graduate Student Handbooks section on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Controlled Substances define the expectations, testing, and sanctions for student applicants and enrolled students. WMed does not enroll or allow students who: abuse alcohol, as evidenced by binge drinking, public intoxication, and other signs of excessive use; use tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, snuff, nicotine gum, nicotine patches, e‑cigarettes, and vaporizers; use controlled substances without a prescription; or have a substance dependence. All applicants who accept an offer of admission are required to undergo testing prior to matriculation for alcohol, tobacco (which screens for cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, nicotine gum, nicotine patches, e‑cigarettes, and vaporizers), and controlled substances.

Preventing Alcohol and Drug Abuse

We are committed to promoting a learning and working environment that is free of the harmful consequences of alcohol and other drug use. To prevent drug and alcohol abuse the medical school: 

  • Creates a health-promoting normative environment;
  • Provides annual education and distribution of printed materials;
  • Supports and encourages substance-free student activities;
  • Enforces institutional policies and laws to address high-risk and illegal alcohol and other drug use;
  • Provides resources for early intervention and referral for treatment.

Student Suspension of Financial Aid Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses

Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance shall not be eligible to receive any grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table. If convicted of an offense involving:

Possession of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First offense 1 year
Second offense 2 years
Third offense Indefinite

 

Sale of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First offense 2 years
Second offense Indefinite


A student whose eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:

  • The student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; and includes two unannounced drug tests.
  • The student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; or the conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.

Resources for Counseling and Treatment

Individuals with alcohol- or drug-related problems are encouraged to seek assistance from any of the following resources.

  • Students
    WMU Behavioral Health Services
    • Behavioral Health Services at Western Michigan University is a licensed and accredited outpatient substance use and behavioral health disorder treatment provider in Michigan that provides substance use assessment and evaluation services, including consultation, information, and education regarding addiction.

    Child and Family Psychological Services, PC
    • Child and Family Psychological Services offers substance abuse counseling, testing, and evaluation in addition to individual and group counseling.

    MyLibertyAssist
    • A 24/7 service offering a wide range of services to students and their families at no cost, including issues with alcohol and other drugs.
  • Employees
    MyLibertyAssist
    • A 24/7 service offering a wide range of services to employees and their families at no cost, including issues with alcohol and other drugs.
  • More Information and National Resources
    • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline, 800-ALCOHOL [800-252-6465]
    • Al-Anon/Alateen, 888-4Al Anon [888-425-2666]
    • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), 269-349-4410 Kalamazoo Area 24-hour phone line or www.aa.org
    • National Drug Treatment Referral Routing Service, 800-662-HELP (4357)
    • Narcotics Anonymous (NA), 818-773-9999 or www.na.org
    • National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), 800-729-6686 or www.health.org

Health Risks and Medical Consequences

  • High risk alcohol and illegal drug use can cause serious problems. Illegal drug use includes the use of illicit drugs, as well as misuse of prescription drugs. Combining alcohol and drugs can greatly increase health risks. Major health risks of alcohol and drug abuse include:
  • Acute and chronic illness, psychological and emotional impairment, addiction, and death. 
  • Short-term memory problems, learning impairments, sleep disruption, immune compromise, and mood swings. 
  • Alcohol abuse can result in liver damage and disease, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular disease, and brain damage.
  • Marijuana use causes short-term memory problems and slowed reaction time. It can also cause anxiety, depression, paranoia, and a distorted sense of time. Residual effects, such as sleep interference, can last for days. With long-term heavy use, there is a significant risk of developing a psychological addiction, making it difficult to stop using marijuana.
  • Club drugs (MDMA, GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, etc.) can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, death. Because some club drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they can be added to beverages to sedate or intoxicate, with the intent to facilitate sexual assaults.
  • The use of cocaine, amphetamines, Adderall®, and other stimulants can cause irritability, mood disorders, acute and/or chronic anxiety, elevated blood pressure, and cardiac arrest, particularly in those with preexisting heart conditions. Long-term use of some stimulants may cause permanent damage to the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs.
  • Depressants (alcohol, narcotics, prescription pain-killers, anti-anxiety medications, etc.) can greatly increase the risk of accidents and automobile crashes because they affect vision, depth perception, coordination, and other physical skills. Psychological side effects include poor concentration and impaired judgment. Driving under the influence of legal medication may result in a DUI violation.
  • Long-term or heavy use of depressants can lead to a profound physical addiction, requiring medically monitored detoxification in order to discontinue use safely. Individuals who are physically addicted to depressants can experience serious medical complications when attempting to discontinue use, including seizures, hallucinations, stroke, and even death.
  • Almost all drugs, with the exception of marijuana, carry the potential risk for drug overdose.
  • Chronic, high-risk use of alcohol and drugs can also have psychological and social consequences, including loss of intimacy and significant relationships, academic/work impairment, estrangement from family and other social support, inability to meet responsibilities and obligations, and significant legal issues.