SMU Student Handbook

Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention

A licensed substance abuse counselor is available to assist SMU students who may be “at risk” or struggling with alcohol or other drug problems. The counselor provides assessment, intervention, referral, short-term counseling, as well as on-going support for recovering students. Sessions with the licensed counselor are confidential and no information is released without written consent of the student.



  1. The Student Code of Conduct prohibits possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places on campus.
  2. The University strictly enforces city and state law and prohibits the possession and consumption of alcohol by those younger than 21.

Controlled substances (drugs):

  • The Student Code of Conduct requires that all students be in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws regarding controlled substances including prohibition of their use, sale, possession, or manufacture.



  1. Acts as a depressant, affects mood, dulls the senses, and impairs coordination, reflexes, memory, and judgment
  2. More serious effects may be damage to the liver, kidneys, pancreas and brain.
  3. It is the leading cause of death among people ages 15-24.
  4. On average, heavy drinkers shorten their lives by approximately 10 years.
  5. Overdose can be fatal

Indicators of high-risk alcohol use:

  • Drinking underage
  • Drinking to the point of impairment
  • Drinking and driving
  • Playing drinking games
  • Drinking shots of hard liquor
  • Drinking while using medications or other drugs


  1. Prolonged use can lead to severe psychological dependence.
  2. May cause paranoia and panic anxiety reactions.
  3. Impairment of memory and learning, altered sense of time and inability to concentrate.
  4. May cause apathy/loss of motivation.


  1. Increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  2. High addiction potential.
  3. Overdose may result in seizures, heart failure, coma or death.


  1. Rapid development of tolerance and physical dependence.
  2. May cause infections of the skin, liver, heart and lungs.
  3. Overdose can be fatal


  1. Shortness of breath, nagging cough, and heart difficulties.
  2. Long-term effects may include emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease and cancer.

Personal Risks of Alcohol and Drug Use:

  • Possible death or injury
  • Academic problems
  • Assault / Sexual abuse
  • Unsafe sex
  • Property damage
  • Legal / Police involvement
  • Health problems
  • Addiction / Dependence


When the standards of conduct regarding alcohol and drugs are violated, SMU will impose, at a minimum, the following sanctions:

Alcohol: A minimum of a $100 fine. Additional sanctions will be assigned as deemed necessary by the appropriate conduct officer or conduct board. Additional sanctions may include, but are not limited to, notification of parents and referral to an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention counselor in the SMU Health Center. (See The University Conduct Review Process section).

Drugs (illicit): Sanctions will be imposed by the appropriate conduct officer or conduct board. Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to: a fine of $500, notification of parents, drug testing, suspension, or expulsion. (See The University Conduct Review Process section).


Alcohol: Minors convicted in the criminal court system of possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages may be subject to fines, suspension of drivers license, community service and a mandatory alcohol education class. Convictions for providing to minors may subject individuals to fines and a jail term of up to one year. Convictions for driving while intoxicated may subject individuals to up to $2000 in fines and a jail term of up to six months for a first offense. Fines and jail terms escalate after the first conviction.

Controlled substances (drugs): Sanctions upon conviction in the criminal court system for possession, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances range from fines to probation to imprisonment. Amount of fines, terms of probation, or years of imprisonment generally are contingent upon the circumstances and amounts of drugs in possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture.


An Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention counselor provides students with a confidential source of help and information when confronted with alcohol or drug abuse or addiction issues; to promote activities and programs with student support to focus campus attention on the problem of alcohol and drug abuse and to help the student body claim ownership of alcohol and drug problems on campus and take charge of identifying solutions.

We offer the following services:

  1. ASSESSMENT: Counselors assess student problems with alcohol and other drugs, which may range from misuse to abuse to addiction.
  2. INTERVENTION: By working with friends, family, faculty and staff, counselors will reach out to students in trouble and provide access to appropriate help.
  3. SHORT-TERM COUNSELING: As appropriate to the situation.
  4. REFERRAL/AFTER-CARE: Based on our assessment, counselors will assist students in finding specialized care.
  5. CAMPUS AWARENESS: Counselors work with student organizations to coordinate projects to focus attention on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and the problems of dependency.
  6. SUPPORT GROUPS: Counselors support self-help groups and refers students to a wide range of support groups in the community, as dictated by the needs of the individual. An on-campus SMU Student Recovery Support Group and coordinate with off-campus AA meetings and other 12-step groups.
  7. EDUCATION: Presentations are given about alcohol and other drugs, chemical dependency and substance abuse topics. Counselors utilize social norms marketing to correct student misconceptions about alcohol use.
  8. TRAINING: Students, faculty and staff are trained to deal with others they believe may have a substance abuse or dependency problem.
  9. PEER EDUCATORS: SMU supports a peer education program in which students provide prevention education on campus and in the surrounding community.
  10. COLLEGIATE RECOVERY: The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) at SMU supports students who are seeking recovery or in recovery from substance abuse disorders, mental health concerns, behavioral (process0 addictions and other quality-of-life concerns. The CRC provides an affirming environment where students can pursue academic and personal success and improved quality of life. To learn more about the CRC at SMU, please call (214) 768-1490.

Additional information is available at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, on the SMU campus from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; (214) 768-1506 or (214) 768-2393.


Last revision - 10 July 2019