Drug Free Workplace

Annual Drug Free Workplace Statement for Faculty/Staff

RIT is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment free from drug and alcohol abuse, in compliance with the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and Drug‐Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, sale, or use of illicit drugs or alcohol in the workplace, on university premises, or as part of university activities is prohibited at RIT, per C15.2 Faculty/Staff Alcohol and Drug Policy. All employees are expected to abide by these standards of conduct as a condition of employment. In order to comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act, RIT requires all employees to notify the university (via their supervisor and/or Human Resources) of any criminal drug statute conviction involving a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such a conviction. The university will notify the appropriate federal contracting agency within 10 days after receiving notice of a conviction of any employee working under a federal contract or grant.

Printable version of the Drug Free Workplace

Assistance and Support

RIT is concerned for its employees and their families and understands that personal challenges can negatively affect the workplace.  Faculty and staff members, their family members, or any member of the employee's household are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for  assistance and support when confronted with personal challenges such as alcohol or substance abuse. EAP provides employees and their families’ access to professional licensed counselors and resources on a confidential and cost‐free basis.  

RIT’s EAP program, through Guidance Resources, may be contacted as follows: 

Phone (Voice)





Phone (TDD)


More information on EAP is available on RIT’s website.

Additional local and state resources may be accessed through the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS):

Health Risks

The following section summarizes some of the significant health risks associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs. It is important to note that alcohol and drugs affect people in different ways based on a variety of physical and psychological factors, such as physical tolerance, body size and gender. Substance abuse, when left untreated, may lead to damaged vital organs such as the liver, brain, and kidneys. Other problems normally associated with substance abuse include nausea, vomiting, loss of memory, slurred speech, blurred vision, and violent acts of aggression. These effects, may lead to poor job performance, loss of jobs, arrests, arguments with family and friends, and serious accidents.

Alcohol consumption causes a number of changes in cognition and behavior, including impaired judgment and coordination, fine motor control and vision, speech and hearing. Higher doses cause disorientation, confusion, and exaggerated emotional states. Very high consumption of alcohol can cause respiratory depression, unconsciousness, and possibly death. Alcohol combined with other drugs, especially prescription medications can be harmful, even toxic to the body. These interactions can put one at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, or difficulty breathing.  Prolonged heavy use of alcohol can lead to dependence, increase risk for certain cancers, liver disease, and other health problems. It can also have consequences at home, work, and with friends. 

Mothers who drink during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Effects of this disorder can include physical and behavioral problems, such as irreversible physical abnormalities and intellectual disabilities, as well as significant impairments of cognitive functioning and cognitive deficits. In addition, research indicates that children of parents with alcohol dependence are at greater risk of developing alcohol related problems. 

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, including cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco contain the addictive drug nicotine. Nicotine is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, stimulating the central nervous system and increasing blood pressure, respiration and heart rate. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, attention difficulties, sleep disturbances, increased appetite, and powerful cravings. 

In addition to nicotine, tobacco smoke contains a mixture of chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, tar, formaldehyde, and cyanide. These chemicals increase the risk of developing various types of cancer, emphysema, and cardiovascular and heart diseases. 

Gaining in popularity, e‐cigarettes are battery operated devices that produce flavored nicotine vapor. Research shows that e‐cigarette vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, however, the long‐term health consequences of e‐cigarette use remain unknown. 

Prescription drugs that are abused or used for non‐medical reasons can alter brain activity and lead to dependence or addiction. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants. When taken as prescribed, opioids are can safely and effectively manage pain. They can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and overdose of the drug can depress respiration. If use is suddenly reduced or stopped, withdrawal symptoms can occur. These include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and involuntary leg movements. 

CNS depressants include benzodiazepines (used to treat anxiety), non‐benzodiazepine sleep medications, and barbiturates (used less frequently to treat anxiety or to help with sleep problems). These medications inhibit brain activity and produce a drowsy or calming effect. Very large doses or doses taken in combination with other central nervous system depressants (e.g., alcohol) may cause respiratory depression, coma, and even death. 

Stimulants are prescribed to treat conditions, such as ADHD, narcolepsy, and occasionally depression. These medications increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Repeated abuse can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia and high doses may result in dangerously high body temperature and irregular heartbeat. 

Marijuana use can lead to a number of physical and psychological effects, including increased heart rate, impaired short term memory and comprehension, and decreased motivation. With extended use, it can produce depression, anxiety, paranoia and psychosis. Smoking marijuana damages the lungs and pulmonary system and can cause coughing and breathing problems similar to those caused by cigarette smoking. Research has shown that daily marijuana users may function at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time, even after the acute effects of the drug wear off. Marijuana use can impact fertility by suppressing ovulation and lowering male sex hormones. 

The health effects associated with cocaine use include elevated body temperature and blood pressure, increased heart rate, nausea, tremors and muscle twitches, and restlessness. Snorting cocaine may severely damage nasal tissue and the septum and cause the loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, and a frequent runny nose. Long‐term health effects of cocaine use include malnourishment due to decreased appetite, paranoia and hallucinations, and movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. 

Amphetamines, methamphetamine, or other stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Larger doses cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, and physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, high fever, heart failure, and death. An individual using amphetamines might begin to lose weight, sweat profusely, and appear restless, anxious, moody, and unable to focus. Extended use may produce psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. 

Hallucinogenic drugs alter perception, thoughts, and feelings and can cause hallucinations. Commonly used hallucinogens include LSD, PCP, Peyote, and psilocybin (“shrooms”), salvia, and others. Short‐term effects include increased heart rate, intensified feelings and sensory experiences, dry mouth, sleep problems, excessive sweating, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. Long‐term effects of some hallucinogens include persistent psychosis and flashbacks. 

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to male sex hormones. Some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance. Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious health problems, some of which are irreversible. Short term side effects include depression, hallucinations, paranoia, severe mood swings and aggressive behavior. Major side effects can also include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, kidney tumors, severe acne, and trembling. In males, side effects may include shrinking of the testicles and breast development. In females, side effects may include growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice. In teenagers, growth may be halted prematurely and permanently. 

Some signs of heroin use are euphoria, excessive drowsiness, constricted pupils, lack of sex drive and appetite and nausea. Because heroin is generally injected, the use of contaminated needles may result in the contraction of many different diseases, including AIDS and hepatitis. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping and liver or kidney disease. If chronic use is abruptly stopped, the user may experience severe withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes and kicking movements. Users also experience severe craving for the drug during withdrawal, which often precipitates continued abuse and/or relapse.  Symptoms of overdose include shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, and coma and may result in death. 


Under the requirements of the Drug‐Free Schools and Communities Act, institutions of higher education must provide employees with notice of the applicable state and federal sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. An employee who violates C15.2 Faculty/Staff Alcohol and Drug Policy is subject both to RIT’s sanctions and to criminal sanctions provided by federal, state, and local law as applicable.  

RIT sanctions will include appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination; and/or the employee may be required to satisfactorily participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved by a Federal, State, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency. The university will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies investigating alleged violations of criminal statutes with regard to illegal drugs or possession or sale of alcohol.

  1. Federal Law

    The Federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the knowing, intentional, and unauthorized manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of any controlled substance or the possession of any controlled substance with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense. 

    A detailed description of the penalties associated with illegal drug trafficking is provided in the chart, Federal Trafficking Penalties, published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration as found in Appendix A.

  2. New York State Law

    In addition to Federal laws and regulations, the State of New York imposes sanctions for the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol, which can include imprisonment, fines, and assigned community service. A detailed description of the state regulations and penalties can be found in Appendix B.

Summary of New York State Drug/Alcohol Sanctions and Penalties

  • 1st offense; a fine of no more than $100;
  • 2nd offense; a fine of no more than $200;
  • 3rd offense; a fine of no more than $250 and/or 15 days imprisonment

(Degree depends upon amount of substance seized)

  • 5th Degree-Class B Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 3 months
  • 4th Degree-Class A Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 1 year
  • 3rd Degree-Class E Felony; imprisonment up to 4 years
  • 2nd Degree-Class D Felony; imprisonment up to 7 years
  • 1st Degree-Class C Felony; imprisonment up to 15 years

“Controlled substance” means any substance listed in schedule I, II, III, IV, or V of section thirty-three hundred six of the public health law other than marijuana, but including concentrated cannabis as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of section 3302 of such law. This includes, but is not limited to: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, PCP, LSD, Fentanyl, and Fentanyl analogue.

(Degree depends upon substance, amount of substance, age of purchaser and prior record)

  • 7th Degree-Class A Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 1 year
  • 5th Degree-Class D Felony; imprisonment up to 7 years
  • 4th Degree-Class C Felony; imprisonment up to 15 years
  • 3rd Degree-Class B Felony; up to 25 years imprisonment
  • 2nd Degree-Class A-II Felony; up to life imprisonment
  • 1st Degree-Class A-1 Felony; up to life imprisonment

Prohibited Sales
(Excerpts from ABC Law Section 65)

No person shall sell, deliver, or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered, or given away any alcoholic beverages to:

  1. Any person, actually or apparently, under the age of 21 years;
  2. Any visibly intoxicated person; 
  3. Any habitual drunkard known to be such to the person authorized to dispense any alcoholic beverages.
  4. Neither such person so refusing to sell or deliver under this section nor his employer shall be liable in any civil or criminal action or for any fine or penalty based upon such refusal, except that such sale or delivery shall not be refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of race, creed, color, or natural origin.
  5. The provisions of subdivision one of this section shall not apply to a person who gives or causes to be given any such alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21 years, who is a student in a curriculum licensed or registered by the state education department and is required to taste or imbibe alcoholic beverages in courses which are part of the required curriculum, provided such alcoholic beverages are used only for instructional purposes during classes pursuant to such curriculum.

In New York State, a Class A Misdemeanor is committed when an alcoholic beverage is given to a person under the age of 21. This crime is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Any person who misrepresents the age of a person under the age of 21 years for the purpose of inducing the sale of any alcoholic beverage, as defined in the alcoholic beverage control law, to such person, is guilty of an offense and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200, or by imprisonment for not more than five days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(Excerpts from Section ABC Law 65-b)

2a. No person under the age of 21 years shall present or offer to any licensee under this chapter, or to the agent or employee of such licensee, any written evidence of age which is false, fraudulent, or not actually his own, for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase any alcoholic beverage. (For a first violation, a person violating the provisions of this subdivision is guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $100, and/or an appropriate amount of community service not to exceed 30 hours, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program.) If a New York driver’s license was used as the false identification, a violator’s license may be suspended for 90 days. Since the ABC Law requires sellers of alcoholic beverages to demand a driver’s license, passport, or armed forces ID card as evidence of age, serious consequences will result from altering one of the required forms of official ID. Possession of a forged instrument with the intent to defraud is a Class D Felony, punishable by a fine up to $5,000, imprisonment up to seven years, or both (See NYS Penal Law, 170.25).

2b. No licensee or agent or employee of such licensee shall accept as written evidence of age by any such person for the purchase of alcoholic beverage, any documentation other than: (i) a valid driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the commissioner of motor vehicles, the federal government, any United States territory, commonwealth or possession, the District of Columbia, a state government within the United States or a provincial government of the dominion of Canada, or (ii) a valid passport issued by the United States government or any other country, or (iii) an identification card issued by the armed forces of the United States.

Compensation for Injury or Damage Caused by the Intoxication of a Person, Under 21
(GOL Section 11-100)

  1. Any person who shall be injured in person, property, means of support, or otherwise, by reason of the intoxication or impairment of ability of any person under the age of 21 years, whether resulting in his death or not, shall have a right of action to recover actual damages against any person who knowingly causes such intoxication or impairment of ability by unlawfully furnishing to or unlawfully assisting in procuring alcoholic beverages for such person with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that such person was under the age of 21 years. 
  2. In case of death of either party, the action or right of action established by the provisions of this section shall survive to or against his or her executor or administrator, and the amount so recovered by either a husband, wife, or child shall be his or her sole and separate property.
  3. Such action may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction.
  4. In any case where parents shall be entitled to such damages, either of such parents may bring an action therefore; but that recovery by either one of such parties shall constitute a bar to suit brought by the other.

(GOL Section 11-101)

  1. Any person who shall be injured in person, property, means of support, or otherwise by any intoxicated person, or by reason of the intoxication of any person, whether resulting in his death or not, shall have a right of action against any person who shall, by unlawful selling to or unlawfully assisting in procuring liquor for such intoxicated person, have caused or contributed to such intoxication; and in any such action such person shall have a right to recover actual and exemplary damages. 
  2. In case of the death of either party, the action given by this section shall survive to or against his or her executor or administrator, and the amount so recovered by either a husband, wife, or child shall be his or her sole and separate property. 
  3. Such action may also be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction.

In any case where parents shall be entitled to such damages, either the father or mother may sue alone therefore, but recovery by one of such parties shall constitute a bar to suit brought by the other.