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Cabrillo's Alcohol & Drug Policy

The illegal or abusive use of alcohol and/or other drugs by students, faculty, or staff adversely affects Cabrillo College's commitment to provide an environment of excellence and safety for teaching and learning.  As members of the Cabrillo College community, we all share in the responsibility for creating and maintaining a healthy and productive environment for work and study alike.  With this responsibility comes the obligation to be involved in preventing problems caused by the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Cabrillo’s comprehensive approach to addressing substance abuse emphasizes:

  • Taking effective steps to create and maintain a drug-free workplace and educational environment for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Providing prevention, education, and counseling services, along with referrals, to off-campus treatment facilities as appropriate.
  • Encouraging individuals who are experiencing chemical dependency or other problems associated with alcohol or other drugs to seek assessment, counseling, and/or treatment voluntarily, with the understanding that this assistance is confidential and will not be used against them.
  • Assessing college sanctions for the manufacture, distribution, use, or possession of illegal drugs or the unlawful use or possession of alcohol, which may include prosecution under applicable state and federal laws. Such sanctions may include educational intervention, mandated community service, suspension, expulsion, and termination of employment.


Helping hands

Confidential help is available for students, faculty, and staff. Members of the college community are encouraged to seek immediate help through any of the following resources.

Cabrillo College is committed to providing students and employees alike with a drug-free environment for both work and study.  All members of the college community are encouraged to be actively involved in the prevention of alcohol and other drug abuse.  Prevention, education, and early intervention programs are available, along with counseling and referrals to appropriate mental health and medical services.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty and staff services are provided in conjunction with employee health benefits.
  • Staff/Faculty Employee Assistance Program: 1-800-777-WELL
  • Education, information, assessments, referrals and treatment

Resources for Students

  • Student Health Services: 831- 479-6435. Assessments and referrals for counseling, substance abuse support groups, cessation programs. Short-term individual and group counseling and referrals to treatment on and off campus.
  • Office of Dean of Student Services: 831- 479-6525.

Policy and procedure questions, response to incidents involving violation of college policy, disciplinary actions.

  • Cabrillo Sheriff’s Office: 831-479-6313
  • 911. Immediate response for medical or psychological emergencies.
  • Safety and legal questions and concerns: 831- 809-0364
  • College Discipline, Dean of Student Services: 831- 479-6525.

Off Campus Resources

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 831- 475-5782
  • SC County Intergroup Council:
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 831- 423-6903
  • Janus Recovery of Santa Cruz: 831- 462-1060
  • The Camp Recovery Center: 1-800-924-2879
  • Triad Community Services: 831- 438-3521
  • National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency:


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Health Risks Associated with the Abuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs

There are many well-documented risks associated with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, affecting not only the individual user but also his or her family, friends, and roommates.  Alcohol abuse is frequently implicated in cases of rape on campus, for example, and the misuse of drugs is sometimes a factor in workplace violence.  Other problems associated with alcohol and other drug abuse include poor academic or job performance; relationship difficulties, including sexual dysfunction; a tendency toward verbal and physical violence; financial stress; injuries or accidents; and violations of the law such as driving under the influence and willfully destroying property.

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Description and Definitions of Alcohol and Other Drugs


Excessive alcohol consumption causes behavioral changes and can have consequences for physical and mental health.  Even small quantities of alcohol can cause impaired judgment and poor coordination for some people.  Alcohol abuse is involved in the majority of violent acts on college campuses, including acquaintance rape, vandalism, fights, and drinking and driving episodes.  Continued abuse of alcohol can lead to dependency and/or permanent damage to organs such as the liver.  A deterioration in lifestyle is also tragically common.

Cannabis (marijuana, hashish)

Marijuana use can impair or distort short-term memory and concentration, alter the user’s sense of time, and reduce coordination. A lowered immune system and an increased risk of lung cancer may also ensue. THC, the active chemical in marijuana, is stored in the fat cells of the body. Depending on the amount and duration of time it's used, cannabis can stay in the body for two days to up to about two months. Addiction to cannabis is generally more psychological than physical in nature.

Cocaine (crack and other stimulants)

The immediate effects of cocaine use include dilated pupils, and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate, followed by a "crash" when the drug wears off.  Over the longer term, cocaine users often have nasal passage and septum problems. Stimulant use is generally physically addictive.

Hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, mushrooms)

Hallucinogens can cause illusions, and distortions of time and perception. The user may experience episodes of panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control.  Flashbacks can occur even after use has stopped.  PCP, or phencyclidine, has been shown to produce violent behaviors that can lead to injuries to the user or bystanders.  There is generally little potential for addiction.

Heroin and other opiates

Heroin, synthesized from morphine and other opiates, can cause the body to experience diminished pain. If injected, it can result in blood vessel damage (and possibly the transmission of infections such as hepatitis or HIV, if needles are shared). There is a high rate of addiction among users.

Tobacco (cigarettes, chew, and other products)

Tobacco use has been proven not only to be addictive, but to also have serious, well-documented health consequences.  While many people, particularly students, look to smoking as a means for reducing stress, it should be understood that the stress of preparing for mid-term exams, for example, is in no way comparable to the stress of facing emphysema or lung cancer.

Counseling and Medical Assistance for Students

Any student concerned about problems resulting from his/her use of alcohol or other drugs is encouraged to seek help from Student Health Services, which makes personal counseling available to all students.

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Cabrillo's Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Cabrillo College recognizes that the illegal or abusive use of alcohol and other drugs by members of the college community has a detrimental effect on the college’s commitment to provide continual excellence in teaching and learning.  Misuse of drugs by students poses hazards both to the individual involved and to the community. Students, faculty, and staff alike share the responsibility for creating attitudes conducive to eliminating the abuse of alcohol and other drugs within the college community.


The college recognizes the legality of alcohol use for those of appropriate age. Simultaneously we maintain concern about the potential for abuse of alcohol and the destructive effects of such abuse within the college community. As a result, the college has established the following expectations concerning alcohol and students:

  • Only those students aged 21 years or older may possess or consume alcoholic beverages within the college community, and then in a responsible manner.  Students are expected to assume responsibility for their own behavior while drinking, and must understand that being under the influence of alcohol in no way lessens their accountability to the college community.
  • Students will not provide alcoholic beverages to those under 21 years of age.
  • Events sponsored by college-recognized groups (regardless of location) are governed by college policy concerning alcohol and other drugs. Individuals and groups are expected to follow appropriate hosting guidelines.
  • The use of college funds to provide alcohol to students is prohibited.  Accordingly, student program fees may not be used to purchase alcohol.

Other psychoactive substances

The college’s policy is to conform to all applicable laws and to follow the current stance of the medical and mental health professions regarding the use of psychoactive substances, including stimulants, depressants, narcotics, inhalants, and hallucinogens (including marijuana).

The college expects all students and student groups to comply with all the current laws of the state of California and the county of Santa Cruz. It is the responsibility of each individual to be aware of, and abide by, all state and local ordinances and college regulations. Current laws provide for severe penalties for violations, which may result in a criminal record. Violations may be prosecuted under applicable local, state, and federal laws as well as through college disciplinary action.

Student involvement in the manufacture, use, possession, distribution, or sale of such drugs is a matter of concern to the college and will subject a student so involved to disciplinary action by the college, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the college.  College action may be taken whether or not independent action is taken by civil authorities.

Alcohol and event-planning guidelines

When alcohol is to be served at a college function, the department or group hosting the event is responsible for ensuring that it is offered in a safe and legal manner.

  • The sponsoring individual or group must adhere to applicable laws (e.g., securing a license to sell and/or serve alcohol) and college regulations. The sponsor will be held responsible for any abuses arising from the use of alcoholic beverages by servers and/or consumers.
  • Ample non-alcoholic beverages and food must be provided at events where alcohol is served.
  • Any individual or group intending to serve alcoholic beverages must register the event with the appropriate administrative office or department and follow the rules set by that office or department.
  • College funds (including student fees, departmental funds, etc.) may not be used to provide alcohol either directly or indirectly at student events.

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Smoke-Free Policy

Willful or persistent smoking, including vaporizing and chewing tobacco is prohibited by law and by regulation of the college.

Smoking cessation information and support are available to faculty, staff, and students through Student Health Services.

Violation of college policies concerning alcohol shall result in appropriate disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion from the college, and in the case of organizations, loss of recognition. Additionally, the college expects all students and students groups to comply with all the current laws of the state of California and the county of Santa Cruz. It is the responsibility of each individual to be aware of, and abide by, all state and local ordinances and college regulations. Current laws provide for severe penalties for violation which may result in a criminal record. Violations may be prosecuted under applicable local, state, and federal laws, as well as through college disciplinary action.

Action Taken When a Student Has Violated the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

As an academic community, Cabrillo exercises certain disciplinary and discretionary powers, such as protecting the educational environment by establishing and enforcing standards of conduct that students and student groups are expected to follow. These standards contain sanctions related to the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Students are expected to respect these standards, the authority of the college, faculty, and staff, and each other. If a student violates any of the standards of conduct, the college or any individual within the college may file a complaint against the student.

Student organizations are expected to follow the standards of conduct, as is any individual student. If a determination that a violation of the alcohol and other drug policy has occurred, by either an individual or a student group, sanctions will be assessed. Such sanctions may include revocation of recognition as a student organization, denial of use of college facilities, or suspension/expulsion from the college.

Action Taken When a Faculty/Staff Member Has Violated the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

When problems arise due to alcohol and other drug use and abuse, it is the college’s goal to provide faculty and staff members, whenever possible, with options for assessment, recommendations, counseling, referrals, and/or treatment. In the event that the faculty or staff member is found to be in violation of the college policy, in addition to federal, state, and municipal legal action and penalties, the individual may be subject to college disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal. Thus, self-referral and early detection is critical to the rehabilitation of employees. For details, please refer to Cabrillo’s personnel policies.

State and Local Laws and Ordinances

The following provisions of state and municipal law serve as the foundation of Cabrillo’s policy on alcohol. (Note: this is not a complete summary of relevant laws and ordinances.)

  • The purchase, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages (including beer and wine) by any person under the age of 21 is prohibited.
  • The selling, either directly or indirectly, of alcoholic beverages (including beer and wine) except under the authority of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board license is prohibited.  This includes selling glasses, mixers, ice, etc.
  • The serving of alcohol to an intoxicated person is prohibited.
  • The serving of alcohol to someone to the point of intoxication is prohibited.
  • The manufacture, use, or provision of a false state identification card, driver’s license, or certification of birth or baptism is prohibited.
  •  The act(s) of being drunk and disorderly in public view, including on public sidewalks and walkways, is prohibited.
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public place is prohibited (unless licensed for consumption of alcohol on the premises).  This includes a prohibition of alcoholic beverages in public areas of academic facilities and recreation facilities.
  •  The act of driving a motor vehicle or a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.
  • The possession of an alcoholic beverage in an open container in a motor vehicle or on a bicycle is prohibited, regardless of who is driving or whether one is intoxicated.

State and Federal Criminal Sanctions

The following is a brief summary of the state and federal criminal sanctions that may be imposed on someone who violates the alcohol and other drug policy at Cabrillo or elsewhere in the state of California.

  • The unlawful sale of alcohol in California may lead to imprisonment in the county jail for six months, plus fines and penalties.
  • The unlawful use of alcohol by obviously intoxicated persons will vary with the particular circumstances, but may include imprisonment in the county jail and substantial fines and penalties. In addition, minors who are arrested for violations concerning the use of alcohol run the risk of having their driving privileges suspended or revoked until they are 18.
  • A violation of California law for the possession, use, and/or sale of narcotics, marijuana, and/or other illicit drugs includes imprisonment in the county jail or state prison for one to nine years, plus fines of up to $100,000 for each count.
  • A violation of federal law for the possession, use, and/or sale of narcotics, marijuana, and/or other illicit drugs may include imprisonment in the federal penitentiary for one to 15 years, plus substantial financial penalties.
  • A violation of the law involving an individual being under the influence of a combination of alcohol and other drugs (itself potentially deadly) may result in an increase in criminal sanctions and penalties.

In addition to the sanctions imposed by the college, individuals who have violated Cabrillo policies and procedures regarding possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol and other drugs may be referred by the college to the appropriate authorities for arrest and prosecution.

Cabrillo College, an institution of higher education, complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations of 1989 and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 which state that “as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, an institution of higher education must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees.”  This summary of services, policies and procedures is mailed to each member of the Cabrillo community in accordance with this regulation.

Special Requirements for Those Working on or with Federal Contracts and Grants

The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (Public Law 100 690, Title V, Subtitle D) and the State Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1990 require that college employees directly engaged in the performance of work on a federal or state contract or grant shall abide by this policy as a condition of employment.

Cabrillo College must be notified within five calendar days if an employee working on a contract or grant supported by federal funds is convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace or while on college business.  The college is required to notify the federal contracting or granting agency within ten calendar days of receiving notice of such conviction and to take appropriate corrective action or to require the employee to participate satisfactorily in available counseling, treatment, and/or approved substance abuse assistance or rehabilitation programs within 30 calendar days of having received notice of such conviction.

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