Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act - Student Notification

General Policy

The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees and students. The University complies with all local, state and federal regulations pertaining to alcohol and illicit drugs. In addition, the University complies with the regulations of both the Drug Free Work Place Act of 1988 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.


As required by the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act annually the University will provide a written statement to employees and students covering: a) standards of conduct concerning drugs and alcohol; b) federal, state and local legal sanctions governing the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol; c) health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol; d) a description of counseling and treatment programs available for alcohol and drug abuse; and e) University disciplinary sanctions imposed for unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol.

Standards of Conduct

The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and the unauthorized or illegal possession, use, or distribution of alcohol on University property or as any part of a University-sponsored activity.

Federal, State, and Local Legal Sanctions Governing the Unlawful Possession or Distribution of Illicit Drugs or Alcohol

Local, state, and federal laws make illegal use of drugs and alcohol serious crimes. Conviction can lead to imprisonment, fines, and assigned community service. Courts do not lift prison sentences in order for convicted persons to attend college. A felony conviction for such an offense can prevent students from entering many fields of employment or professions.

The minimum age for the sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts is 21 years of age. All state laws apply at the University. Cities and towns in Massachusetts, specifically Boston, prohibit public consumption of alcohol and impose fines for violation. Massachusetts has criminal penalties for the use of controlled substances or drugs, with penalties varying with the type of drug. In general, narcotic, addictive, and drugs with potential for abuse carry heavier penalties.

Driving while intoxicated in Massachusetts is a serious offense and there are strict penalties for those convicted, including driver’s license suspension and imprisonment.

Possession of drugs is illegal without valid authorization. Under federal law, distribution of drugs to persons under age 21 is punishable by twice the normal penalty with a mandatory one year in prison; a third conviction is punishable by mandatory life imprisonment. These penalties apply to distribution of drugs in or within 1,000 feet of a college or school. Federal law sets greatly heightened prison sentences for the manufacture and distribution of drugs, if death or serious injury results from the use of the substance. While penalties for possession are generally not as great as for the manufacturing and distribution of drugs, possession of a relatively large quantity may be considered distribution. Under both state and federal laws, penalties for possession, manufacture, and distribution are much greater for second and subsequent convictions. Many laws dictate mandatory prison terms and the full minimum term must be served.

Massachusetts makes it illegal to be in a place where heroin is kept and to be in the company of a person known to possess heroin. Anyone in the presence of heroin at a private party risks a serious drug conviction. Sale and possession of drug paraphernalia is illegal in Massachusetts.

Persons convicted of drug possession under state or federal law are ineligible for federal student grants and loans for up to one year after the first conviction, and five years after the second; the penalty for distributing drugs is loss of benefits for five years after the first, 10 years after the second, and permanently after the third conviction.

Students should review the following state laws regarding alcohol and other drugs which are available on the Massachusetts General Court website:

Drugs of Abuse

Abuse Information about drugs of abuse is available U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Drugs of Abuse 2011 Ideabook [PDF].

Support Services

The University Counseling, Health and Wellness Department provides help to students regarding alcohol and other drug use and provides assistance for referrals to outside agencies and programs.

Disciplinary Action

The University holds students accountable for violations of this policy through the Student Conduct System. Possible sanctions for violations include, but are not limited to, warning, disciplinary probation, loss of housing, suspension, dismissal or participation in educational workshops.

Biennial Review

Every two years, the University will review its drug and alcohol policy to determine its effectiveness, implement changes and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently applied and enforced.

Only in an environment free of substance abuse can Suffolk University fulfill its mission of developing the professional, social, cultural and intellectual potential of each member of its community.

Students are required to review and abide by the University's policies on alcohol and other drugs.