The Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program addresses three major concerns:
- The maintenance of an environment in which students can learn and be safe,
- Help for students whose development or performance is threatened by abuse of drugs or alcohol, and
- The enforcement of policies and laws regarding possession or use of drugs or alcohol on campus.
What Is Addiction?
When a drug user cannot stop taking a drug even if s/he wants to, it is called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the substance is causing harm.
Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing, brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to use drugs or alcohol is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to use drugs or alcohol.
Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything-lying, stealing, or hurting people-to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested.
Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.
Statement of Health Risks
Abusing drugs or alcohol interferes with the body’s normal functioning. Because drugs directly affect many parts of the brain, abuse can lead to problems with learning, sleeping and emotional health. Abuse can also lead to permanent damage of vital organs such as the brain, heart and liver and be manifested by heart attack, stroke, blood clots, lung damage, liver damage, cancer, and sudden death.
Individuals who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders. Imaging scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests show the damaging effects of substance abuse throughout the body. For example, tests show that tobacco smoke causes cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, blood, lungs, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. In addition, some drugs of abuse, such as inhalants, are toxic to nerve cells and may damage or destroy them either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system.
Even small doses of drugs and alcohol can significantly impair judgment and coordination. This is especially true in a person’s ability to safely drive a vehicle or operate other machinery. Moderate doses may increase incidents of aggressive acts like spouse or child abuse. High doses can cause respiratory depression and death.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a common problem of babies and infants born to mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy. These infants can have mental retardation and irreversible physical abnormalities. Children born to alcoholic parents are at a greater risk of becoming alcoholics.
Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Drug Abuse; Tennessee Code Annotated.
Drug and alcohol addiction are preventable diseases. Effective education and outreach programs can lead to reduced instances of abuse. Abuse can be prevented if one never uses drugs.
It is the policy of the College to prohibit the illegal use, abuse, manufacture, possession, sale, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or any controlled substance, including any stimulant, depressant, narcotic, hallucinogenic drug or substance, or marijuana on College-owned, controlled, or leased property. Such use, solicitation, sale, or distribution is prohibited during any school-related activity, including off-campus trips. All students are subject to applicable federal, state, and local laws related to this matter. In addition, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary actions as set forth in the Student Conduct Policy and Disciplinary Sanctions section of this Handbook. Students are also subject to arrest and prosecution by civil authorities for violation on campus.
College personnel will seek to identify abuse problems and provide immediate intervention and assistance. The College will assist any individual whose mental or physical health is threatened by the use or abuse of alcohol or drugs. The College counselor can refer individuals to community resource centers for abuse counseling and rehabilitation.
Following is a list of area resources:
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Further information is available in the Student Services Coordinator’s office.
Sanctions - Unlawful Possession or Distribution
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - and all Tennessee Board of Regents institutions have prohibitions against the possession and/or use of drugs and alcohol on property controlled by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology - or while participating in a Tennessee College of Applied Technology –sponsored program. (Please see disciplinary policies and procedures concerning student conduct listing in the Tennessee Board of Regents Policies (TBR) and Guidelines for Tennessee College of Applied Technology -s section of this handbook).
Various federal, state, and local statutes make it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, solicit, dispense, deliver, sell, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, solicit, dispense, deliver, or sell controlled substances. The penalty imposed depends upon many factors, which include the type and amount of controlled substance involved, the number of prior offenses, if any, whether death or serious bodily injury results from the use of such substance, and whether any other crimes were committed in connection with the use of such substance. Possible maximum penalties for a violation of federal/state laws prohibiting the use/distribution of drugs/alcohol include imprisonment, up to a term of life imprisonment, and fines in excess of $1 million. In addition, employees/students found to be in violations of federal or state laws regarding the use/distribution of drugs/alcohol may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment or enrollment at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology -.