Drug, Alcohol & Smoking Policy
Alcohol, cannabis, and illegal drugs are not permitted at any Meridian event. Students are not permitted to participate in or attend residencies or any other school events when under the influence of illegal drugs, cannabis, or alcohol. The use of alcoholic beverages, including during meal periods and breaks, is strictly prohibited.
Students are asked to include all pertinent information regarding medications on the Transformative Learning History form at the time of enrollment. In addition, students are asked to let the Director of Assessment and Student Development (DASD) know when they are taking any prescription medications not previously listed on the Transformative Learning History form. It is the student’s responsibility to monitor their use of prescription medications during Meridian classes and events.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (as amended in Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989) in part requires that all members of the University be made aware of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
Alcohol and illicit drug use and abuse are prohibited for multiple reasons:
- the demonstrated health risks associated with use or abuse
- compliance with federal and state law
- interference with the clarity needed for full classroom participation (as in the case, for example, of simply having a glass of wine prior to one’s evening class)
The DASD oversees student compliance with the Drug-Free guidelines and the Administrative Director oversees employee compliance with the Drug-Free Policies and Procedures. Students who violate the provisions of the drug-free campus policy are subject to suspension or expulsion. Violating California state statutes may also subject the individual to criminal prosecution.
The use of drugs and alcohol can cause psychological dependence and interfere with memory, sensation, and perception. Drugs can impair the brain’s ability to synthesize information. Regular users of illicit drugs can develop tolerance and physical dependence, which can produce withdrawal symptoms when the user tries to decrease their use. Psychological dependence occurs when procuring and ingesting the drug becomes central to one’s life. The following list details the range of potential hazards associated with alcohol and drug use.
In moderate amounts, alcohol can cause dizziness, dulling of the senses, and impairment of coordination, reflexes, memory, and judgment. Increased quantities produce staggering, slurred speech, double vision, mood changes, and potential unconsciousness. Larger amounts can result in death. Long-term alcohol abuse and/or dependence causes damage to the liver, heart, and pancreas. It can lead to malnutrition, stomach irritation, lowered resistance to disease, and irreversible brain or nervous system damage.
Symptoms can include glazed eyes, broken blood vessels in facial area, slowed motor coordination, and an enlarged stomach.
Marijuana use can lead to increased heart rate and impaired or reduced short-term memory and comprehension. Motivation and cognition can also be altered, and with extended use marijuana can produce paranoia and psychosis. Smoking marijuana can damage the lungs and pulmonary system. It is important to note that marijuana may contain more cancer causing agents than tobacco. It can lower male sex hormones, suppress ovulation, cause changes in the menstrual cycle, and possibly cause birth defects.
Symptoms can include inappropriate laughter, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, a poor sense of timing, and increased appetite.
Cocaine and Crack
Cocaine—and its derivative, crack—produce dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Cocaine and crack can also cause insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and even seizures and death.
Symptoms can include muscle twitching, panic reactions, anxiety, numbness in hands and feet, loss of weight, a period of hyperactivity followed by depression, a running or bleeding nose, and sustained depression.
In small doses, barbiturates produce calmness, relaxed muscles, and lowered anxiety. Larger doses cause slurred speech, a staggering gait, and an altered perception. Very large doses taken in combination with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol, can cause respiratory depression, coma, and sometimes death.
Symptoms can include poor muscle control, the appearance of being drowsy or drunk, confusion, irritability, inattentiveness, and/or slow reaction times.
Amphetamine use can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Larger doses cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, and physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, high fever, and heart failure.
Symptoms can include weight loss, periods of excessive sweating, restlessness, anxiety, moodiness, and inability to focus. Extended use may produce psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
Hallucinogens (including PCP, LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Psilocybin) cause dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as tremors. PCP (angel dust) interrupts the part of the brain that controls the intellect and impulsive behavior, and also blocks pain receptors. Violent episodes, including self-inflicted injuries, are not uncommon. Chronic users report memory loss and speech difficulty. Very large doses produce convulsions, coma, heart and lung failure, and/or ruptured blood vessels in the brain.
Symptoms can include moodiness, overt aggression, and violence. Individuals may become paranoid, experience hallucinations, and have time and body movements slowed. LSD users may experience loss of appetite, sleeplessness, confusion, anxiety, and panic. Flashbacks may also occur.
Narcotics (including Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, Opium, Percodan) cause euphoria, drowsiness, constricted pupils, and nausea. Other symptoms include itchy skin, needle or ‘track’ marks on the arms and legs, nodding, and loss of sex drive and appetite.
When withdrawing from the drug, sweating, cramps, and nausea occur. Because narcotics are generally injected, the use of contaminated needles may result in AIDS and hepatitis.
Symptoms of overdose include shallow breathing, clammy skin, and convulsions. An overdose may result in a coma or even death.
Drug and Alcohol Counseling and Treatment Resources
The following organizations provide information for drug and alcohol counseling and treatment.
- Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org
- Al-Anon: www.al-anon.alateen.org
- Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: www.drugabuse.gov
For local counseling and treatment resources, search for agencies in your community via your local Yellow Pages under “Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment.” You may also Google “Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment” for resources in your area. Enabling incognito mode will keep your google search information private.
Smoking is not permitted inside any Meridian office or classroom, or outside within 20 feet of any building. This includes vaping and e-cigarettes. Smoking is discouraged and restricted to designated smoking areas. Please do not smoke outside of these designated areas. Please carefully extinguish and throw away your cigarette butts in trash receptacles (for fire safety issues as well as being aware of the space we are inhabiting). Please also be aware of those individuals who do not smoke.
Applicable Legal Sanctions Under Federal, State, and Local Law
Local, state, and federal laws establish severe penalties for unlawful possession, manufacture or distribution of illicit drugs. The sanctions may range from a small fine and probation for minor infractions to imprisonment, fines and seizure of property for felony convictions.
Laws governing the possession and abuse of alcohol vary from state to state and may carry substantial penalties. Drivers convicted of misdemeanor or felony DUI in the state of California can receive county jail or state prison sentences, fines, impoundment or forfeiture of vehicle, license restriction/suspension/revocation, an ignition interlock device requirement, or probation.
Notice of Penalties of Drug Law Violations
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 during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal financial aid during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.
|Possession of a Controlled Substance:||Ineligibility Period:|
|First Offense||1 year|
|Second Offense||2 years|
|Sale of a Controlled Substance:||Ineligibility Period:|
|First Offense||2 years|
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 one of the following proceeds:
- 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.
- The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.
Please refer to the criminal convictions page for more information: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions