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 Policy Manuals section on Alcohol 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 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 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.

Resources for Counseling and Treatment

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

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.