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Open Letter to All Students Regarding Drugs and Alcohol

Dear UD Student:

The University of Delaware (UD) is committed to your academic, social, and personal success. To ensure that alcohol and illegal drugs do not interfere with your success at the University, drug and alcohol prevention programs have been developed. The following information is being provided to ensure that you are informed about the laws, policies and sanctions which govern the misuse of substances on campus; health risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse; and the on-campus prevention, intervention, and counseling services available for your use.

Student Conduct

The University of Delaware’s policies for students pertaining to alcohol and drugs may be found online in the University of Delaware's Student Guide to University Policies. University regulations clearly prohibit the unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, distribution, or sale of alcoholic beverages on University property or in University facilities. In addition, students are prohibited from using drugs, possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia, and from selling or otherwise distributing drugs.

For a list of local Newark, Delaware ordinances which impact students on the Newark campus, please see Municipal Code of the City of Newark. For pertinent state laws, please visit Title 4 of the Delaware Code.

Sanctions or Consequences

Violations of University policies will result in immediate sanctions within the University's Student Conduct System. Students may be required to complete educational interventions such as classes, alcohol and drug screenings, brief interventions or assessments, and may receive disciplinary sanctions ranging from a notice of reprimand to expulsion.

If students are alleged to have violated any local, state or federal laws concerning alcohol and drugs, they will be reported to local law enforcement agencies and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. These penalties often include fines and some may include mandatory prison terms. The State of Delaware, in particular, has very strict minimum mandatory sentencing laws for the sale or distribution of illegal drugs.

Because the University cares about the safety and well-being of its students and wants to encourage students to make an active and immediate call for help for any individual they may encounter who could be suffering from an acute, potentially life-threatening reaction to alcohol, a medical amnesty protocol for students does exist. Essentially, if an active call for help is made and it is determined that amnesty does apply, disciplinary sanctions regarding the underage use of alcohol will be waived and completion of educational interventions will be required for both the student requiring the medical assistance and the student or students placing the active call for help. For more specific information regarding this protocol and how to apply for amnesty, please see

Health Risks

The University of Delaware is a community that cares about health and wellness. According to recent surveys conducted on representative populations of UD students, the substances of frequent abuse are alcohol and marijuana.

Alcohol is a major concern on a college campus as it can negatively impact the academic goal of the institution. Frequency of alcohol consumption has been associated positively with absenteeism from classes (Wyatt, 1992) and falling behind academically (Porter & Pryor, 2007). Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, coordination and speech. This can lead to dangerous and unsafe behavior that could result in substantial negative consequences to the individual or others. This impairment can occur even at low levels of blood alcohol concentration. When alcohol is abused, there is a significantly increased incidence of physical injury, motor vehicle accidents (nearly half of all fatal accidents) and injuries from assaults. Furthermore abuse of alcohol within the college environment can be linked to an increased risk of sexual assault.

With regards to marijuana, though it is true that scientists have determined that the cannabis plant has the potential for addressing a range of medical conditions, it is also true that when you are young and your body is still growing, marijuana actually has the potential of inflicting a long-lasting, negative impact on your developing brain. Using marijuana at a young age can result in structural and functional deficits of the brain. This could cause you to develop weakened verbal and communication skills, lowered learning capabilities and a shortened attention span. In addition to the possible effects on your brain, smoking marijuana may also be hazardous to your developing lungs. Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana limits your brain's effectiveness, slows your thinking and impairs your coordination. A number of studies have also shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. And lastly, research shows that the earlier you start using marijuana, the more likely you are to become dependent on it or other types of drugs later in life.

For facts about other substances which tend to be experimented with or frequently abused please visit The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Prevention, Intervention and Counseling

A variety of campus offices provide services with the goal of optimizing student success.

Student Wellness & Health Promotion at the University of Delaware provides a number of prevention and intervention services designed to allow students to make choices which will protect their well-being and assist them in achieving their academic goals. The services available to aid students' understanding about alcohol and drugs are described below. For more immediate assistance please contact the office by emailing, or by calling 302-831-3457.

  • AlcoholEdu for College

    AlcoholEdu for College is a requirement for all incoming undergraduate students under 26. AlcoholEdu is an online course that offers a confidential, personalized experience for each student regarding their alcohol use. AlcoholEdu provides helpful tools such as but not limited to a map of US laws, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) calculator, safe partying strategies, and tips for helping a friend. The version of the online course offered to UD students also contains a chapter regarding the role alcohol and other substances often play in increasing the college student’s risk to sexual assault.

  • E-Check-Up To Go Alcohol

    This individualized program provides accurate and personalized feedback regarding alcohol use. Specifically, individuals will receive feedback about alcohol usage patterns, risks associated with this pattern of use, aspirations and goals for changing consumption patterns, and descriptions of other helpful resources for assistance with change. E-Check-Up To Go can be accessed through the Student Wellness & Health Promotion website at

  • E-Check-Up To Go Marijuana

    This individualized program provides accurate and personalized feedback regarding marijuana use. Specifically, each user will receive feedback on their risk patterns, and their personal aspirations and goals for changing patterns of use. A description of helpful resources to assist with desired change is also provided. E-Check-Up To Go can be accessed through the Student Wellness & Health Promotion website at

  • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Assessment

    Licensed and certified drug and alcohol counselors and prevention specialists are available to meet with any UD student to administer screening tools and conduct brief motivational interviewing sessions or more comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment appointments. The goal of these personalized services is to provide assistance in navigating the sometimes risky college environment which tends to encourage abusive drinking and experimental drug use. These services can also be employed to help determine the nature and extent of substance abuse concerns.  To schedule an appointment, please call Student Wellness & Health Promotion at 302-831-3457.

The Center for Counseling and Student Development (CCSD) at the University of Delaware is an office that employs licensed psychologists and psychiatrists who can assist students who may be experiencing problems with alcohol and/or drug abuse. For more detailed information about the services offered and how to schedule an appointment, please visit

In closing, students, we want you to take an active role in your education, involvement and safety while you are a student at the University of Delaware. The well-being of our community does rest with each individual member.  It is everyone’s responsibility to take steps toward personal safety, to speak up if you see something that is not right, and to seek help for yourself or others when needed.


José-Luis Riera
Interim Dean of Students

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