Alcohol and Drug Policy


The faculty, staff and administration of Cal Poly Humboldt are dedicated to creating an environment that allows students to achieve their educational goals. Cal Poly Humboldt believes that an awareness through education is necessary to promote a healthy lifestyle for our campus, and that every member of the campus community should be encouraged to assume responsibility for his/her behavior. Cal Poly Humboldt subscribes to a drug-free campus and workplace (Drug Free Workplace Act, 1988; Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment, 1989, PL101-226). Manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of alcohol and controlled substances by university students and employees on university property, at official university functions, or on university business is prohibited except as permitted by law, university policy, and campus regulations. Students, faculty and staff violating these policies are subject to disciplinary action which may include expulsion or termination of employment and may be referred for criminal prosecution and/or required to participate in appropriate treatment programs.

Federal, State & Local Sanctions Regarding Controlled Substances

Federal Laws Governing Distribution, Use & Possession of Controlled Substances. Under federal law, the manufacture, sale, or distribution of all Schedule I and II illicit drugs or "counterfeit" substances (for example, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, and all mixtures containing such substances, as well as "counterfeit" substances purported to be Schedule I or II illicit drugs) is a felony with penalties for first offenses ranging from five years to life (20 years to life if death or serious injury is involved) and fines of up to $4 million for offenses by individuals ($10 million for other than individuals). Federal law also prohibits trafficking in marijuana, hashish, and mixtures containing such substances. For first offenses, maximum penalties range from five years to life (20 years to life if death or serious injury are involved) and fines of up to $4 million for offenses by individuals ($10 million for other than individuals). Penalties vary, depending upon the quantity of drugs involved. For second offenses, penalties range from 10 years to life (not less than life if death or serious injury involved), and fines of up to $8 million for individuals ($20 million for other than individuals). For illegal trafficking in medically useful drugs (for example, prescription and over-the-counter drugs) maximum prison sentences for first offenses range up to five years, and ten years for second offenses. Anabolic steroids are controlled substances, and distribution or possession with intent to distribute carries a sentence of up to six years and a $250,000 fine.

Federal law also prohibits illegal possession of controlled substances, with prison sentences up to one year and fines up to $ 1 00,000 for first offenses, and imprisonment up to two years and fines up to $250,000 for second offenses. Special sentencing provisions apply for possession of crack cocaine, including imprisonment of five to twenty years and fines up to $250,000 for first offenses, depending upon the amount possessed.

Persons convicted of possession or distribution of controlled substances can be barred from receiving benefits from any and all federal programs (except long-term drug treatment programs), including contracts, professional and commercial licenses, and student grants and loans. Health care providers are barred from receiving federal insurance payments upon conviction of a criminal offense involving distributing or dispensing controlled substances. Property, including vehicles, vessels, aircraft, money, securities, or other things of value used in, intended for use in, or traceable to transactions that involve controlled substances in violation of federal law are subject to forfeiture to the government. Finally, noncitizens convicted of violating any state, federal, or foreign law or regulation are subject to deportation and exclusion from entry to the United States.

California Laws Governing Distribution, Use & Possession of Drugs and Alcohol

No person may sell, furnish, give, or cause to be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage to a person under age 21 or to any obviously intoxicated person. No person under age 21 may purchase alcoholic beverages or possess alcoholic beverages on any street or highway or in any place open to public view. It is illegal to sell alcohol without a valid liquor license or permit. It is unlawful for any person to drink while driving, to have an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle, or to drive under the influence of alcohol (intoxication is presumed at blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or higher but may be found with levels under .08 percent). It is also illegal to operate a bicycle while intoxicated. Penalties for a first drunk driving offense include attending an alcohol drug program, fines up to $1000, up to six months in jail, and driver's license suspension up to six months. Second offenses are punishable by fines up to $ 1 000, imprisonment up to one year, driver's license suspension up to 18 months, and/or a required drug/alcohol program of up to 30 months. Third and fourth offenses carry similar sanctions, plus three- and four-year revocations of driver's license, respectively. Driving privileges are suspended for one year or revoked for two to three years for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test, for two years if there is a prior offense within seven years, and for three years with three or more offenses within seven years.

Under California law, first offenses involving the sale or possession for sale of amphetamines, barbituates, codeine, cocaine, Demerol, heroin, LSD, mescaline, methadone, methamphetamine, morphine, PCP, peyote, Quaalude, psilocybin, and marijuana are felonies carrying prison terms of seven years or more. Manufacture of illegal drugs may result in prison terms of 20 years or more. Penalties are more severe for offenses involving manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs by convicted felons and for distribution within 1,000 feet of a school or university, within 100 feet of a recreational facility, to anyone in prison or jail, to anyone under 18 by anyone over 18, or to a pregnant woman. Personal property may be seized if it contains drugs or was used in a drug transaction. The illegal possession of most of these drugs is also a felony (marijuana may be a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the amount involved), carrying maximum prison sentences of up to seven years

Sources: Printed with permission from University of California, Davis - materials prepared for members of Bay Area Consortium of College and University Prevention Programs (BACCUP) by Linda Cherry, copyright 1990; Federal Register, Vol 55, Number 151, p 33588 and 33590; materials prepared by California Department of Justice Training Center (classifications of drug offenses); and California and Federal legislation, regulations, and case law.

Substance abuse can cause extremely serious health and behavioral problems, including short- and long-term effects upon the body and mind. The physiological and psychological responses differ according to the chemical ingested, and although chronic health problems are associated with long-term substance abuse, acute and traumatic reactions can occur from one-time and moderate use.

The health risks associated with each of five major classifications of controlled/illegal substances are summarized below. In general, however, alcohol and drugs are toxic to the body's systems. In addition, contaminant poisonings often occur with illegal drug use, and mixing drugs, or using "counterfeit" substances, can also be lethal. Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV or AIDS), other sexually transmitted infections, rape, unwanted pregnancies, injuries, accidents, and violence can result from alcohol abuse or drug use. In addition, substance abuse impairs learning ability and performance.

Acute health problems may include heart attack, stroke, and sudden death, which, in the case of drugs such as cocaine, can be triggered by first- time use. Long lasting health effects of drugs and alcohol may include disruption of normal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, blood vessel leaks in the brain, destruction of brain cells and permanent memory loss, infertility, impotence, immune system impairment, kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and pulmonary (lung) damage. Drug use during pregnancy may result in miscarriage, fetal damage and birth defects causing hyperactivity, neurological abnormalities, developmental difficulties, and infant death.


As many as 360,000 of the nation's 12 million undergraduates will ultimately die from alcohol-related causes while in school. This is more than the number who will get MAs and PhDs combined. Nearly half of all college students binge drink (binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks at a time for men, four or more drinks for women). On campuses where binge drinking is rampant (where more than 70 percent of the student body binge drinks), the vast majority of college students have experienced one or more problems as a result of their peers' binge drinking. These problems include physical assault, sexual harassment, and impaired sleep and study time. Alcohol on college campuses is a factor in 40 percent of all academic problems and 28 percent of all dropouts.

Sources: Wechsler, Henry, et al. 'Health and Behavioral Consequences of Binge Drinking in College.' Journal of American Medical Association, Vol 272, Number 21 1994), p 1672-1677; Eigan, Lewis, 'Alcohol Practices, Policies and Potentials of American Colleges and Universities," An OSAP White Paper, office for Substance Abuse Prevention, Rockville, MD, February 1991; Anderson, David, 'Breaking the Tradition on College Campuses: Reducing Drug and Alcohol Misuse," George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 1994.

Long-term abuse of alcohol results in ulcers, gastritis, pancreatitis, liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis and is associated with cancers of the digestive tract. Chronic heavy consumption can lead to stroke, heart disease, hypertension, anemia, susceptibility to tuberculosis, gastrointestinal bleeding, impotence and fertility loss. Episodic binge drinking can cause toxic reactions leading to death when large amounts are consumed or when alcohol is combined with other drugs. The most common negative health consequences from occasional drinking are trauma-related (accidents and violence), and involve both the drinker and nondrinking victims.

Other Depressants

These drugs include narcotics (for example, opium, heroin, morphine, codeine, and synthetic opiates) and sedative-hypnotics and antianxiety medications (for example, Nembutal, Seconal, Quaalude, Miltown, Equanil). All are central nervous depressants that slow down physical and psychological responses. The most serious risk is toxic reaction, or overdose, which causes death when respiratory, cardiac, and circulatory systems slow down and cease to function. Sedatives and antianxiety drugs can cause temporary psychosis, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, interference with short-term memory, impaired judgment and motor performance.


These drugs include amphetamines, methamphetamines, and cocaine (crack). Stimulant drugs are exceedingly dangerous to both physical and mental health. Physical complications include heart attack, stroke, permanent brain damage, fatal heart rhythm abnormalities, convulsions, and physical exhaustion. Psychological complications include psychosis, paranoia anxiety, violent behavior, and depression that may lead to suicide. Injection of these drugs may lead to serious infections, including AIDS.


These drugs include mescaline, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), and various mushrooms. They involve health risks such as panic reactions, flashbacks, toxic reactions (overdose), hallucinations, and death. Psychological states induced can include paranoia and Psychosis. Misidentification of mushrooms can lead to serious or fatal illness.


PCP users often become violent and oblivious to pain, leading to serious injuries to themselves and others.


This drug simultaneously creates physical symptoms akin to both depressants (relaxation, sleepiness) and stimulants (increased respiratory and heart rates). Chronic marijuana smoking results in respiratory difficulties, bronchitis, and probably both emphysema and lung cancer. Episodic use can cause panic reactions, flashbacks, and depression. Psychosis may occur in susceptible individuals, and severe toxic reactions may result from ingestion of large quantities. Some of the most serious consequences of marijuana use result when decreased judgment, impaired perceptions and motor functions, and inability to carry out multistep tasks lead to motor vehicle crashes and other trauma.

Available Treatment and Support Programs

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS offers a weekly counseling group called Harm Reduction from Alcohol and Drugs. This is described as “a supportive group where you can discuss your relationship with substances and discover strategies to make changes.” Information on how to join, and other CAPS groups, can be found on their website. CAPS has also created a list of self-help resources for those who want to assess their substance usage, including an educational Prezi, signs and symptoms of substance misuse, books, and self-help apps. Lastly, CAPS has curated a list of community resources available to faculty, staff, and students at Cal Poly Humboldt. These community resources include AA-style groups and other peer support groups. Check the Counseling and Psychological Services website for dates and times of on campus groups,

Assistance for Resident Students

Residence Life staff are available to identify, informally counsel, support, and make referrals for students suffering from substance use issues. These interventions may include referral to on or off-campus professionals, group support, and/or directions to participate in online intervention programs.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

LifeMatters, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Empathia, is available to University employees and their dependents/permanent household members. Employees can call LifeMatters 24/7/365 to speak with a licensed counselor about issues related to mental well-being, including job stress, financial issues, personal relationship issues, substance misuse concerns, or anything else that you may need to talk through.

In addition to this initial conversation and assessment of needs, the following benefits and services are available to Cal Poly Humboldt employees:

  • 8 free, confidential counseling sessions. If continued services are required, Empathia with find a licensed counselor who will work with your insurance plan (if applicable)

  • Access to (webinars, self-assessments, interactive courses, trainings, videos, and articles)

  • Physical and behavioral health assessment

  • Smoking cessation program

Off-Campus Resources

The Department of Health and Human Services of Humboldt County administers a variety of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment Services and maintains a comprehensive list of other 

SUD resources in Humboldt County

SUD treatment services are designed to empower participants to develop the self-awareness and personal motivation needed to make positive and permanent changes in their lives. Program services are provided by substance misuse counselors and may include:

  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Assessment

  • Consultation and referrals

  • Plan development

  • Individual and group counseling

  • Treatment and recovery services

  • Parenting skills

  • Skill development

  • Case management

  • Service coordination

  •  Field services

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs and Support Services in Humboldt County

  • Aegis Treatment Centers: 2107 First St., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-273-6395

  • Crossroads/North Coast Substance Abuse Council (NCSAC): 1205 Myrtle Ave., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-445-0869 

  •  Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Adolescent Treatment Program (ATP): 707-441-3773

  • DHHS Healthy Moms Program: 2910 H St., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-441-5220

  • DHHS Humboldt County Programs for Recovery (HCPR): 734 Russ St., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-476-4054

  • Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR) Low Barrier Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Access: 1522 3rd Street, Eureka, CA 95501; 707-407-6013

  • Humboldt Alcohol Recovery Treatment (HART) program – Fortuna Adventist Community Services: 2331 Rohnerville Road, Fortuna, CA 95540; 707-725-9381

  • Humboldt Family Service Center: 1802 California St., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-443-7358

  • Humboldt Recovery Center (HRC): P.O. Box 6310, Eureka, CA 95502; 707-443-0514

  • Open Door Community Health Centers Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Substances Program Member Services Department: 707-269-7073

  • Priority Care Center: 2316 Harrison Ave., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-442-0478

  • Redwood Adult & Teen Challenge (Faith Based): 2212 Second St., Eureka, CA 95501; Administration Office: 707-268-8727, Adult Men’s Center: 707-268-0614, Adult Women’s Center: 707-442-4233, Pastor Tom Throssel-Executive Director: 707-268-8727 Ext. 102

  • Two Feathers Native American Family Services: 1560 Betty Court, Suite A, McKinleyville, CA, 95519; 707-839-1933

  • United Indian Health Services (UIHS): 1600 Weott Way, Arcata, CA 95521; 707-825-5000

  • Waterfront Recovery Services (WRS): 2413 Second St., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-269-9590 Ext. 243

  • Fortuna Community Health Center (also serving Ferndale): 1375 Rohnerville Road, Fortuna, CA 95540; 707-725-4477

  • Redwoods Rural Health: 101 West Coast Road, Redway, CA 95560; 707-923-2783

  • Ki’ima:w Medical Center Behavioral Health Department: 535 Airport Road, Hoopa, CA 95546; 530-625-4261 Ext. 0450

  • Willow Creek Community Health Center: 38883 Hwy 299, Willow Creek, CA 95573; 530-629-3111

Mutual Assistance/Advocacy

  •  Al-Anon/Alateen/Adult Children of Alcoholics: P.O. Box 6425, Eureka, CA 95502; 707-443-1419

  •  Alcoholics Anonymous of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties: P.O. Box 7102 Eureka, CA 95502; 844-442-0711

  • Narcotics Anonymous: P.O. Box 6634, Eureka, CA 95502; 707-444-8645, 866-315-8645

HIV/AIDS Testing

  • Planned Parenthood Northern California: 3225 Timber Fall Court, Suite B, Eureka, CA 95503; 707-442-5700

  • Humboldt Open Door Clinic: 770 10th St., Arcata, CA 95521; 707-826-8610

Smoking Cessation

  • American Cancer Society: 611 Harris St., Eureka, CA 95501; (707) 443-2241

  • California Smoker’s Helpline: 800-NO-BUTTS, 800-662-8887, 1-844-8-NO-VAPE, 1-844-866-8273

  • Open Door Community Health Centers Smoking Cessation Services Member Services Department: 707-269-7073

Other Resources

  • DHHS Mobile Outreach Program: Crisis Line - 707-445-7715, Toll-Free - 888-849-5728

  • ED Bridge Program Substance Use Navigator (SUN): 2700 Dolbeer St., Eureka, CA 95501; Hospital - 707-445-8121 ext. 5840, SUN - 707-499-1072

  • Humboldt RISE Project Perinatal Navigator: 707-267-6469

  • Humboldt Domestic Violence Services: P.O. Box 969, Eureka, CA 95502; 24-hour support line: 707-443-6042

  • North Coast Rape Crisis Center 

  • North Coast Resource Hub: (707) 443-4563 ext 126

  • The Road to Resilience Project: 325 Second St., Suite 201, Eureka, CA 95501; 707-445-7379

  • St. Joseph Health CARE Network: 2200 Harrison Ave., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-445-8121 ext. 5825

This list is updated on an annual basis by the Substance Use Prevention (SUP) Program of the Healthy Communities Division of Humboldt County DHHS Public Health Branch. For questions about this list or to request an update to information on this list, please contact: