GU Commitment to Drug-Free Schools
In compliance with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, this website contains the Georgetown policies and applicable laws and penalties related to the use, possession and distribution of alcohol and other drugs; information about the risks and effects of drug and alcohol use and dependence; and resources to assist students, faculty and staff who may be having a problem with alcohol or drugs. You are encouraged to read this page in its entirety, as each member of the campus community is responsible for complying with Georgetown policy and applicable laws, and ignorance of such rules will not reduce accountability.
- Georgetown University Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Penalties for Violation of Federal and D.C. Drug and Alcohol Laws
- Health Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Campus and Community Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff
For all members of the Georgetown community:
Georgetown policy on alcohol and other drugs reflects the requirements of D.C. law and imposes additional sanctions and penalties for violations by students, faculty, and staff.
No person under age 21 shall drink, possess, purchase or attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Likewise, no person, regardless of age, shall serve, offer, give, purchase, provide or in any way make available alcoholic beverages to any persons who are under 21. Persons who are 21 or older may possess, serve and consume alcohol only in University facilities where permitted and only when they have first received any permissions and licenses required under University policy and D.C. law.
The possession, use, manufacture and/or distribution of illegal drugs, as defined under D.C. and federal law, are prohibited at all times on University property, in University vehicles, or in connection with any University activity or business.
Employees and students who violate the University's policies will be subject to disciplinary action by the University, which may include suspension, referral for prosecution, permanent separation from the University, or any action the University deems appropriate.
University policies on alcohol and other drugs that are particular to Main Campus students may be found on the Student Affairs website and within the Student Code of Conduct. Of particular note are the University regulations on alcoholic beverages in student areas including on-campus housing, off-campus houses and apartments, and offices and clubrooms; policies on parties, kegs, and party notification; policies on serving alcohol at events; and sanctions for violations of the alcohol and drug policies, which include fines, residence hall suspension, parental notification, move from an apartment into a traditional residence hall, recommendation for counseling or rehabilitation, disciplinary probation, suspension, and dismissal from the University.
Medical Center students should refer to the School of Medicine Student Handbook Law Center students should refer to the GULC Conduct Policies and/or Gewirz Student Center Handbook for information specific to their campuses.
For Faculty and Staff:
In addition to the policies governing all members of the Georgetown community, all University employees are governed by the Drug-Free Workplace policy and Professional Conduct policy, which states that being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs and/or possessing or selling illegal drugs when reporting to work, while on the job, or in connection with carrying out job responsibilities are strictly prohibited. Additionally, employees who operate motor vehicles must comply with the Human Resources policy on Controlled Substance and Alcohol Use Prohibition and Testing for Motor Vehicle Operators.
Violations of these policies by University administrators, faculty or staff will be referred to the appropriate department head or supervisor who, in accordance with University policies and procedures, will determine the course of action necessary.
Faculty and staff should also visit the website of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program for additional information about drug-free schools and communities.
Penalties for Illegal Possession or Distribution of Alcohol under D.C. Law
In the District of Columbia,
- It is unlawful to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage in an open container in a public area or place of business not licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. Violations of this provision may result in a fine of up to $500 and/or a prison term of up to 90 days (D.C. Code § 25-1001).
- Persons under age 21 are prohibited from possessing, drinking, purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Persons are also prohibited from falsely representing their age in an attempt to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment where alcohol is served. Violations of this law may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and suspension of driving privileges for up to one year (D.C. Code § 25-1002).
- Persons who purchase, sell or in any other way deliver alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 may be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year (D.C. Code §§ 25-781, 25-785).
Penalties for Illegal Possession or Distribution of Illegal Drugs under D.C. Law
In the District of Columbia,
- >Intentional possession of a controlled substance (other than pursuant to a valid prescription), is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days imprisonment. The intentional manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance is punishable by prison terms ranging from not more than 180 days to not more than 30 years and/or fines ranging from not more than $1,000 to not more than $500,000 (D.C. Code § 48-904.01). Controlled substances are defined in D.C. Code § 48-901.02 and include drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, crack, PCP, LSD, and other narcotics.
- Persons over age 21 who are found to have distributed a controlled substance to anyone under age 18 is subject to even heavier penalties (§ 48-904.06).
- Anyone found to have enlisted or encouraged an individual under age 18 to distribute or sell any controlled substance is subject to an additional fine of $10,000 and an additional prison term of up 10 years.
- A finding that an individual has attempted to commit any of these offenses subjects the individual to the same fines and terms of imprisonment as if the crime were actually committed. Moreover, the D.C. government shall revoke the driver’s license of all persons convicted under this law for a period of at least six months and up to two years.
- The use, possession, sale or delivery of drug paraphernalia to prepare or use illegal controlled substances is prohibited and punishable by a $1,000 fine or a prison term of up to six months. Drug paraphernalia includes pipes, tubes, roach clips, cocaine spoons and vials, bongs, ice pipes or chillers, scales, blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and other devices used for mixing or compounding a controlled substance, and capsules, balloons, envelopes and any other containers used to package, use or store a controlled substance (D.C. Code §§ 48-1101, 48-1103).
Penalties for Illegal Possession or Distribution of Illegal Drugs under Federal Law
It is a violation of federal law to possess, manufacture, or distribute a controlled substance. Defined by federal statute, controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine, PCP, LSD, and other narcotics. A student or employee found guilty of possessing or distributing a controlled substance in violation of federal law may be subject to some or all of the following sanctions:
- First conviction: Up to one year imprisonment and a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or both.
- With one prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed two years and fined at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or both.
- After two or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed three years, and/or a fine of at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000 (21 U.S.C. § 844(a))
There are special sentencing requirements for crimes that involve the possession of crack cocaine. Convicted persons will receive a mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison, not to exceed twenty years, and/or will be fined up to $250,000 if:
- it is the defendant’s first conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams; or,
- it is the defendant’s second conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams;
- it is the defendant’s third or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 1 gram (21 U.S.C. §§ 853(a)(2), 881(a)(7)).
Federal law may also require forfeiture of property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1 year imprisonment (21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(4)); forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance (21 U.S.C. § 844a); and civil fines of up to $10,000 (21 U.S.C. § 853a).
Upon a drug conviction, the federal government may also deny or revoke federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, for up to one year for first offense, and up to five years for second and subsequent offenses, (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)).
A student who has been convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance will not be eligible to receive any federal grants, loans, or work assistance for at least one year (for first conviction of possession) and possibly indefinitely (for third/subsequent conviction of possession or second/subsequent conviction of sale) (20 U.S.C. §1091(r)).
The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol carry dangerous physical, emotional and psychological consequences including dependence, impaired judgment and coordination, increased aggression and violence, memory and speech problems, feelings of panic, confusion, paranoia and loss of control, permanent damage to vital organs, and death. Please read below for some of the major effects of drug and alcohol use and refer to the resources provided in the next section for more information.
- Impairs judgment and coordination
- Hinders ability to learn and remember information
- Increases aggression and abusive acts
- High doses cause dependence, respiratory depression or death
- Withdrawal causes anxiety, nausea, hallucinations and convulsions
- Damages vital organs, such as the liver, permanently
- May lead to fetal alcohol syndrome when consumed by pregnant women<
- Reduces short-term memory and comprehension
- Produces paranoia and psychosis
- Damages lungs and respiratory system with inhalation of carcinogenic smoke
- Alters sense of time
- Dangerously increases heart rate
Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD)
- Cause sense of distance and space estrangement, illusions and hallucinations
- Create persistent memory problems and speech difficulties
- Induce violent episodes that result in self-inflicted injuries
- >Produce negative psychological effects such as panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control
- Result in side effects such as dizziness, weakness, tremor nausea and drowsiness
Narcotics (Codeine, morphine, opium, heroin)
- Produce feelings of euphoria followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting
- Create constricted pupils, watery eyes and itching
- Can be deadly in overdose, causing shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions and death
- Promote the transmission of AIDS, endocarditis and hepatitis through use of unsterilized syringes
- Causes constant stuffy, runny nose and possible perforated nasal septum
- Produces dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature, followed by depression
- Is extremely addictive and can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, convulsions and death
Designer Drugs (Ecstasy)
- Are hundreds of times stronger than the drugs they’re designed to imitate
- Cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease including tremors, drooling, impaired speech
- Can cause brain damage with as little as one dose
Stimulants (Speed, crystal meth, Ritalin)
- Produce elevated blood pressure and heart rates, decreased appetite, perspiration, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety
- Cause physical collapse in high doses
- Can result in amphetamine psychosis in long-term users, which includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia
Inhalants (Whippets, laughing gas, buzz bombs)
- Are mixtures of volatile substances, which makes it difficult to be specific about effects
- Can cause nausea, sneezing, coughing, nose bleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, loss of appetite and involuntary passing of urine and feces
- May result in hepatitis, brain damage, nervous system damage, weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance and muscle weakness with long-term use
Depressants (Downers, Valium, quaaludes)
- Have similar effects to alcohol
- Cause calmness in small amounts, slurred speech and staggering gait in large doses
- Can cause dependence with serious withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia, convulsions and death
If alcohol or drug abuse is a problem for you or someone you care about, Georgetown has a number of on-campus resources that provide information, counseling and support for those struggling with these issues.
Health Education Services
207 Village C West
Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
Main campus: One Darnall Hall
Law Center Gewirz Student Center, Room L102G
Georgetown University Hospital Substance Abuse Services
For Faculty and Staff:
Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
1300A 36th Street
Georgetown University Hospital Substance Abuse Services
Community Resources and Hotlines:
202-966-9115 in DC, 703-876-6166 in VA
202-882-1334 in DC and MD, 703-764-0476 in VA
202-399-5316 or 800-543-4670
Arlington County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program
Fairfax County Drug & Alcohol Referral Services
DC Metro Substance Abuse Hotline
The information on this website was written by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, in consultation with Student Health Services and the Office of University Counsel.
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