Substance Abuse Policy
PA Substance Abuse Policy
All students are prohibited from attending the medical school (including clinical experiences and rotations) while adversely affected by alcohol.
We reserve the right to require a drug or alcohol screening test from individuals whose academic performance, behavior, or appearance reasonably suggests use of alcohol or illegal drugs. Failure or refusal to comply with a substance abuse screening test may result in disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the Physician Assistant Program. If a student is reasonably suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs, Security will be contacted and the student will be escorted to Student Health by Security, and further testing will take place in accordance with the policies of Student Health.
Some clinical rotation sites require drug testing as a condition of doing a rotation at their site. Students participating in these rotations will be required to undergo drug screening as per the clinical site requirements. Any student who refuses to partake in drug screening for a clinical rotation site may face disciplinary action. The cost of the drug screening will be borne by the student unless covered by the clinical rotation site. Any student who is dismissed from a clinical rotation site due to a positive drug screen will be required to explain in writing the circumstances surrounding the results of the screening test. The student may be required to submit to another drug screening test if the results of the first drug screen are not available to the Director of Clinical Education. The results of this subsequent test will be forwarded to the Director of Clinical Education. A refusal to submit to any subsequent drug testing or to supply the Director of Clinical Education with the subsequent test results may lead to disciplinary action, including immediate dismissal from the Program. A single negative drug test does not preclude the requirement of additional screens at future clinical sites.
Medical School Substance Abuse Policy and Programs
Substance Abuse Educational Program Purpose
The purpose of this educational program is to clearly and unequivocally state Wake Forest University Health Sciences’ and Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s (collectively, the University) opposition to substance abuse and our prohibition of the abuse, unlawful possession, distribution, and use of illegal drugs and alcohol by students and employees; to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are aware of the health risks associated with and the destructive and devastating impact of the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol (see Appendix I); to clearly state the disciplinary sanctions that the University may impose on students and employees who violate the standards of conduct (see Substance Abuse Policy); to ensure that all University constituencies are aware of the applicable local, state, and federal sanctions pertaining to the illegal possession, distribution, and use of controlled substances and alcohol (see Appendix II); to encourage early identification of substance abuse problems and to advocate self-referral by individuals for treatment and rehabilitation; and to comply with the provisions of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989.
The University will annually distribute the Substance Abuse Policy and this Substance Abuse Education Program to students, faculty, and staff. In compliance with the Drug Free Campus Act, this policy and the Education Programs will be reviewed every two years. In addition, educational programs will be available to increase awareness of the hazards of drug use, abuse, and dependency. The Substance Abuse Policy will be discussed with new students and new employees during orientation and will be reinforced periodically throughout the course of the calendar year.
The following is a summary of the various health risks associated with the use and abuse of some specific types of substances; it is not intended to be an exhaustive or final statement of all possible health consequences of substance abuse. A more extensive description on health risks related to abuse of the controlled substances listed in Appendix I may be obtained from the Human Resources Department or the Office of Student Services.
Alcohol Use and Abuse
Alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug in the United States. Alcohol consumption has both acute and chronic effects on the body and causes a variety of changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate dosage of alcohol is associated with a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse and dangerous risk-taking behavior. Moderate to high doses of alcohol may cause marked impairment of higher mental functions such as severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses may cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressant-type drugs, much lower doses of alcohol can be fatal.
Alcohol-related automobile accidents are the number one cause of death among people ages 15 through 24, and alcohol is involved in 50 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. Furthermore, approximately 50 percent of all deaths from drowning, fires, suicide, and homicide are alcohol-related.
Repeated use of alcohol can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Alcohol-depen-dent persons who suddenly stop drinking can suffer withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, confusion, and convulsions, which can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and liver. Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with serious birth defects including fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents have an increased risk of becoming alcoholic themselves.
Substance Abuse Policy Scope
This policy applies to employees of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and students of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. This policy is not intended to affect our right to manage our workplace or discipline our students, faculty, or staff, nor does this policy guarantee employment or enrollment, or guarantee terms or conditions of employment. No contract for employment, either expressed or implied, is created. This policy may be modified from time to time without notice and as we deem appropriate.
The term “substance abuse” as used in this policy is defined as
- reporting to work or working while affected by alcohol,
- chemical dependency on alcohol or other drugs where job performance, participation in academic programs, or safety of employees, students, or patients may be adversely affected, or
- the use of illegal drugs.
The term “illegal drugs” as used in this policy includes, but is not limited to
- marijuana, cocaine, heroin, opiates, amphetamines, and similar drugs whose possession and use are prohibited under state and federal law,
- prescription drugs unless taken as validly prescribed by the employee’s or student’s physician, and
- “designer drugs,” “look alike drugs,” synthetic drugs, and similar substances.
Standards of Conduct
Unless a standard of conduct is specifically limited to a particular group, the standards apply to all faculty and staff.
As a condition of employment or enrollment, each employee and student is required to comply with the terms of this policy.
The sale, distribution, manufacture, possession, or use of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia is prohibited.
All employees and students are prohibited from working or attending the medical school while adversely affected by alcohol.
The possession or use of alcohol on any school property is prohibited unless its use is part of an authorized activity of Wake Forest University Health Sciences or Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Distribution of alcohol to persons under the age of twenty-one and possession or use of alcohol by persons under the age of twenty-one on our property or as part of any Wake Forest University Health Sciences or Wake Forest University School of Medicine activity are prohibited.
All information concerning medical examinations, drug or alcohol testing results, or rehabilitation and treatment of an employee or student should be treated as confidential information subject to disclosure on a need-to-know basis.
We reserve the right to require a drug or alcohol screening test from individuals whose job performance, behavior, or appearance reasonably suggests use of alcohol or illegal drugs. Failure or refusal to comply with a substance abuse screening test may result in termination of employment or expulsion from the Medical School.
In order to fulfill our obligations under the Drug Free Workplace Act, employees are required to notify the Human Resources Department in writing of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction. Faculty [and students of the medical school] must notify the dean of any such convictions.
Employment (hiring) of staff and faculty is contingent on the successful completion of a drug screening test.
We will impose disciplinary sanctions on students, faculty, and staff who violate the above standards of conduct.
Among the disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed on students are the following: reprimand, probation, restriction, suspension, expulsion, and referral for prosecution. We may require evaluation, counseling, and successful completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, if indicated.
Among the disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed on faculty and staff are oral warning, written reprimand, disciplinary suspension, termination, and referral for prosecution. We may require evaluation, counseling, and successful completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, if indicated.
Identification and Rehabilitation
Early recognition of substance abuse is important for successful rehabilitation. We encourage individuals with a chemical dependency to voluntarily seek assistance through the Medical Center’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An individual’s job will not be jeopardized solely because the individual voluntarily seeks assistance in the treatment of and recovery from chemical dependency if the individual seeks treatment prior to any violation or disciplinary action. Any such requests and/or actions are strictly confidential. Eligibility to participate in any subsequent rehabilitation programs will be at our discretion.
Any faculty member, student, or staff, if given the option to participate in a rehabilitation program, will comply with the treatment and rehabilitation requirements set forth below or resign from employment or withdraw from the medical school. Any such individual electing treatment and rehabilitation will:
- Satisfactorily participate in a substance abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purpose by a federal, state, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency at the individual’s expense. Wake Forest University Health Sciences’ Medical Plan may provide coverage for certain counseling or rehabilitation services.
- Provide evidence satisfactory to us of continued outpatient therapy in an approved program appropriate to the treatment recommendation.
- Remain substance free after completing a rehabilitation program for chemical dependency, and participate in random drug testing during rehabilitation and for up to two years following completion of the rehabilitation program.
Failure to comply with these requirements may result in termination or expulsion.
Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Treatment Resources
Wake Forest University Health Sciences provides a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for faculty and staff. The School of Medicine endorses and encourages the activities of the Health & Effectiveness Council in early identification, treatment, and rehabilitation of students with a substance abuse problem.
Those who do not wish to take advantage of the resources we offer may wish to seek referrals to rehabilitation and treatment programs from their own physician, First Line Community Resources, or the resources listed in the yellow pages of the phone book.
Updated May 2011