Health Consequences of Alcohol and Other Drug Use

For Students, Faculty, and Staff at California State University, Chico

Although the behavioral, interpersonal, and social consequences of the use of alcohol or other drugs can be quite similar, the physiological and psychological responses differ according to the classification of the chemical ingested. Adverse health reactions can result from both abusive and moderate use of any classification. While chronic health problems are often associated with long-term misuse and abuse, acute and traumatic instances can occur from one-time and moderate use. Such negative results are as dependent upon the circumstances of the use as they are upon whether the user is addicted or alcoholic.

As a summary of the health implications of alcohol or other drug use, this document will look at five classifications. Alcohol, as society’s most abused drug, is the first classification, followed by other depressant drugs, stimulants, marijuana, and hallucinogens. This document is descriptive in nature and should not be used to diagnose either individuals or the results of alcohol or other drug use. A variety of resources were used to compile this information, most significantly the third edition of Drug and Alcohol Abuse by Marc A. Schuckit, M.D.

Alcohol

Other Depressants

Opiates and Narcotics

Hypnotics and Anti-anxiety Drugs

Stimulants

Hallucinogens

Marijuana

Legal Implications of Alcohol and Other Drug Use by Students, Faculty, and Staff at California State University, Chico

A variety of implications surround the use of alcohol and other drugs. This summary is designed to alert you to some of the legal risks you assume when you use alcohol or other drugs. Where the sanctions are clear, the penalties for illegal use will also be described. However, this summary is only a descriptive document. It should not be interpreted as legal advice or counsel. The regulations summarized here are those most likely to affect students, faculty, or staff at institutions of higher education in California.

Although the physical, psychological, and social effects of the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs and use of illegal drugs are often similar, the laws regulating that use often differ. Serious federal penalties exist in relation to controlled substances (illicit drugs and a variety of prescription medications). However, with the exception of a recent mandate that states adopt a legal drinking age of 21 to receive federal transportation funds, there has been no national policy related to the consumption of alcohol since Prohibition. The repeal of Prohibition granted control of alcohol use and availability to individual states. Through its Constitution, the State of California maintains virtually all such control at the state level. Generally speaking, localities can only affect alcohol use and availability through land use and zoning ordinances. On the other hand, many of California’s mandates relative to alcohol are written to apply to other intoxicating substances as well.

Thus, regulations on the use of illicit and illegal drugs exist at both the state and national levels. They are not always consistent with each other. Indeed, the National Drug Control Strategy recommends that state and local governments should adopt federal principles of accountability as models in developing their anti-drug strategies. If you are a trafficker in illegal drugs, you probably know the laws you are violating better than most attorneys. This document will focus primarily on the legal impact of what people often consider minor use until they get embroiled in those implications. Local governments, cities, and counties may also have laws regulating the use of alcohol or other drugs. However, given the multiplicity of residences of students and staff at this institution, no attempt will be made through this summary to address local restrictions. Offices of city and county counsel can provide that information. The student and employee handbooks speak to regulations specific to this campus.

Finally, this document will address the illegal use of prescription medications only as such drugs are classified as controlled substances. Penalties for such illegal use are similar to those for illicit drugs. Remember that even though prescription and over-the-counter drugs are legal in many circumstances, their misuse and abuse can create the same kind of negative health consequences as alcohol or other drugs.

Possession and Use

Distribution

Legal Consequences