Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

We are dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of our students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff, and visitors. In pursuit of this commitment, we strive to maintain a drug-free environment, ensuring that individuals within our community perform their responsibilities without impairment from alcohol, tobacco, or controlled substances. Controlled substances encompass both illegal drugs and prescription medications requiring legal possession. 

In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and Drug-Free Workplace Act, we are mandated to implement an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program. This program includes annual dissemination of information covering:

  • Institutional policies prohibiting the use of drugs and alcohol, with specified sanctions for violations of conduct standards.
  • Legal consequences for the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol.
  • Strategies for preventing drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Available resources for counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs related to drug and alcohol issues.
  • Descriptions of health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol.

Our comprehensive alcohol and drug abuse prevention program is communicated to students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff through the completion of a mandatory annual computer-based learning module and the distribution of printed materials.

Alcohol and Drug Policies

We adhere to federal, state, and local laws governing the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances, along with the corresponding penalties. Judicial authorities may impose penalties such as probation, fines, and/or imprisonment on individuals found in violation of these laws, irrespective of any penalties 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 dedicated to fostering a learning and working environment that is free from the detrimental effects of alcohol and other drug use. To proactively prevent drug and alcohol abuse, the medical school: 

  • Establishes a health-promoting normative environment;
  • Conducts annual education sessions and distributes printed materials;
  • Promotes substance-free student activities;
  • Enforces institutional policies and laws to address high-risk and illegal alcohol and other drug use;
  • Offers resources for early intervention and referral for treatment.

Resources for Counseling and Treatment

Individuals facing 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 significant 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 slows 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 painkillers, 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, except for 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.