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For the Record

October 8, 2008

Wisconsin Week, the newspaper of record for UW–Madison, carries legally required notices for faculty and staff.

UW–Madison compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

Standards of Conduct: In a good-faith effort to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the UW System and UW–Madison prohibit the unlawful possession, use, distribution, manufacture or dispensing of illicit drugs (“controlled substances” as defined in Ch. 161, Wis. Stat.), in accordance with s. UWS 1810, Wis. Adm. Code, by employees on university property or as part of university activities. The use or possession of alcoholic beverages is also prohibited on university premises, except in faculty and staff housing and as expressly permitted by the chief administrative officer or under institutional regulations, in accordance with s. UWS 18.06 (13) (b), Wis. Adm. Code. Without exception, alcohol consumption is governed by Wisconsin statutory age restrictions under s. UWS 18.06 (13) (b), Wis. Adm. Code.

Legal Sanctions: The laws of Wisconsin prohibit drug possession and delivery through the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Wis. Stat. 161, and mandate stiff penalties that include up to 15 years of prison and fines up to $500,000. A person with a first-time conviction of possession of a controlled substance can be sentenced up to one year of prison and fined up to $5,000, Wis. Stat. 161.41 (2r) (b). The penalties vary according to the amount of drug confiscated, the type of drug found, the number of previous offenses by the individual and whether the individual intended to manufacture the drug, sell the drug or use the drug. (See Wis. Stat. 161.41.) In addition to the stringent penalties for possession or delivery, the sentences can be doubled when exacerbating factors are present, such as when a person distributes a controlled substance to a minor, Wis. Stat. 161.46 (1).

Substantial restrictions against alcohol abuse also exist in Wisconsin. It is against the law to sell alcohol to anyone who has not reached the legal drinking age of 21, and there is a concurrent duty on the part of an adult to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol on his/her premises, Wis. Stat.125.07 (1) (a) (1). Violation of this statute can result in a $500 dollar fine. It is against the law for an underage person to attempt to buy an alcoholic beverage, falsely represent his/her age, or enter a licensed premises. Violators of this law can be fined $500, ordered to participate in a supervised work program, and have their driver’s license suspended, Wis. Stat. 125.07(4) (3). Harsher penalties exist for the retailers of alcoholic beverages who violate it, including up to 90 days in jail and revocation of their retail liquor permit.

The federal government has recently revised the penalties against drug possession and trafficking through its Federal Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines reduce the discretion that federal judges may use in sentencing offenders of federal drug statutes. Under these guidelines, courts can sentence a person for up to six years for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, including the distribution of a small amount (less than 250 grams of marijuana). A sentence of life imprisonment can result from a conviction of possession of a controlled substance that results in death or bodily injury. Possession of more than 5 grams of cocaine can trigger an intent to distribute penalty of 10–16 years in prison, U.S.S.G, s. 2D2.1 (b) (1).

Health risks: Drugs at work are a hidden habit, but they have visible effects on the user. Whether the drug of choice is alcohol, marijuana, a prescription drug or cocaine, the habit can lead to a change in work habits, too. Some people may believe that drugs are harmless or even helpful. The truth is that drugs can have very serious, long-term physical and emotional health effects. And if drugs are mixed, the impact is even more detrimental. The following is a partial list of drugs often found in the workplace and some of the consequences of their use. Only some of the known health risks are covered, and not all legal or illegal drugs are included.

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the workplace. It can lead to poor judgment and coordination, drowsiness and mood swings, liver damage, and heart disease. Marijuana is an addictive drug, although many still believe that it is harmless. It can cause short-term memory impairment, slowed reaction time, lung disease and infertility. While cocaine and crack can speed up performance, their effects are short-lived. More lasting risks are short attention span, irritability and depression, seizure, and heart attack. Prescription drugs are often used to reduce stress. However, they are not safe either, unless they are taken as directed. If abused, they can lead to sluggishness or hyperactivity, impaired reflexes, addiction and brain damage. Other drugs, such as PCP, LSD, heroin, mescaline and morphine, have a wide variety of negative health effects — from hallucinations and mental confusion to convulsions and death.

Discipline: University employees will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, up to and including termination from employment, for violation of these provisions occurring on university property or the work site or during work time. In addition to discipline, or in lieu of it, employees may be referred to appropriate counseling or treatment programs. Disciplinary sanctions are initiated and imposed in accordance with applicable procedural requirements and work rules, as set forth in Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules, faculty and academic staff policies and collective bargaining agreements. Referral for prosecution under criminal law is also possible. Further, violations of ss.UWS 1806 (13) and 18.10. Wis. Adm. Code may result in additional penalties as allowed under Ch. UWS 18, Wis. Adm. Code.

Employees convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify their dean, director or department chair within five days of the conviction if they are employed by the university at the time of the conviction.

Employee Assistance Office (EAO): Employees who have problems with alcohol or controlled substances are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Office. (Contact EAO for a copy of the confidentiality policy.) The Employee Assistance Office is located at 610 Langdon St., Room 526, Lowell Center, 263-2987, 265-3398 fax, 265-8460 TDD. The EA Web site is The director is Stephen R. Pearson.