Substance Abuse and Prevention Policy

Owner: Dean of Students
Pertains to: All students
Description: Hamline University is concerned with preventing the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol, educating students regarding medical and psychological hazards, and increasing student sensitivity to the ways in which substance abuse interferes with the rights and privileges of others.

Hamline University is concerned with preventing the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol, educating students regarding medical and psychological hazards, and increasing student sensitivity to the ways in which substance abuse interferes with the rights and privileges of others. The use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol results in serious health hazards and potential legal penalties for those convicted of unlawful use, possession, or distribution of these substances.

Hamline University has a tradition of students acting responsibly and refraining from actions that are damaging to themselves, to others, or to the university. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own conduct and to comply with state and federal laws as well as with Hamline University's policy. Hamline University prohibits the use, possession, cultivation, manufacture, sale, or transfer of illegal drugs on university property or at university-sponsored activities. Students are expected to act lawfully with respect to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages as stated in this document. Hamline students are expected to become familiar with these laws and policies.

Local, State, and Federal laws

Local, state, and federal laws establish severe penalties for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. These sanctions, upon conviction, may range from a fine and probation to lengthy imprisonment. In the case of possession or distribution of illegal drugs, these sanctions could include seizure and the summary forfeiture of property, including vehicles. It is especially important to know that recent federal laws have increased the penalties for illegally distributing drugs to include life imprisonment and fines in excess of $1 million.

Health Risks

The use of any mind or mood-altering substance, including alcohol, can lead to psychological dependence, which is defined as a need or craving for the substance and feelings of restlessness, tension, or anxiety when the substance is not used. In addition, with many substances, use can lead to physical tolerance, characterized by the need for increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect, and/or physical dependence, characterized by the onset of unpleasant or painful physiological symptoms when the substance is no longer being used. As tolerance and psychological or physical dependence develop, judgment becomes impaired and people often do not realize they are losing control over the use of the substance and they need help.

Alcohol acts as a depressant to the central nervous system and can cause serious short and long-term damage. Short-term effects include nausea, vomiting, and ulcers; more chronic abuse can lead to brain, liver, kidney, and heart damage and even eventual death. Ingesting a large amount of alcohol at one time can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, and death. Drugs such as LSD, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol alter emotion, cognition, perception, physiology, and behavior in a variety of ways. Health risks include, but are not limited to, depression, apathy, hallucinations, paranoia, and impaired judgment. Abuse of either alcohol or drugs during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirths.

It is impossible to accurately predict how an individual will react to a specific drug or to alcohol because effects vary depending on the person, environmental variables, the dosage and potency of the substance, the method of taking the substance, and the chronicity of use, and whether the substance is taken in conjunction with other substances. Illegal drugs have partially unpredictable effects due to variability in dosage and purity. When two or more substances are combined, there is often an effect that is stronger than their additive sum.

Assistance for Alcohol Abuse and/or Drug Use Problems

Hamline University is committed to education and counseling as the primary focus of their substance abuse programs and provide confidential, professional assistance for students. Students are urged to seek information and help regarding substance abuse for themselves or their friends. A variety of services including counseling, educational materials, and/or referrals are available at the following offices:

  • Counseling and Health Services Center, 651-523-2204
  • Dean of Students Office, 651-523-2421
  • Residential Life Office, 651-523-2061


Hamline University will impose sanctions on individuals and organizations that violate this policy. These sanctions will be consistently enforced and penalties will depend on the severity of the offense. The Dean of Students in Student Affairs division will deal with violations and disciplinary action.

Penalties can include expulsion from the university and referral for prosecution for violations of the law. A student who is found to be selling illegal drugs may be suspended or expelled from the university, even for a first offense. Sanctions for less severe offenses may include, but are not limited to, the following: verbal and written warnings, the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, and suspension for the repeat offender. An event may be closed immediately or other intervention may be taken to correct a violation. Disciplinary action may be invoked apart from any civil or criminal penalties that the student might incur.