Drug and Alcohol Policies

The City University of New York Policy on Drugs and Alcohol

The City University of New York (CUNY) is an institution committed to promoting the physical, intellectual, and social development of all individuals. As such, CUNY seeks to prevent the abuse of drugs and alcohol, which can adversely impact performance and threaten the health and safety of students, employees, their families, and the general public.

CUNY complies with all federal, state, and local laws concerning the unlawful possession, use, and distribution of drugs and alcohol. Federal law requires that CUNY adopt and implement a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees. As part of its program, CUNY has adopted this policy, which sets forth

(1) the standards of conduct that students and employees are expected to follow;
(2) CUNY sanctions for the violation of this policy; and
(3) responsibilities of the CUNY colleges/units in enforcing this policy. CUNY’s policy also sets forth

(1) the procedures for disseminating the policy, as well as information about the health risks of illegal drug and alcohol use, criminal sanctions for such use, and available counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs, to students and employees; and
(2) requires each college to conduct a biennial review of drug and alcohol use and prevention on its campus. This policy applies to all CUNY students, employees and visitors when they are on CUNY property, including CUNY residence halls, as well as when they are engaged in any CUNY-sponsored activities off campus.

CUNY Standards of Conduct

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of drugs or alcohol by anyone, on CUNY property (including CUNY residence halls), in CUNY buses or vans, or at CUNY-sponsored activities, are prohibited. In addition, CUNY employees are prohibited from illegally providing drugs or alcohol to CUNY students.

Finally, no student may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in any CUNY residence hall, regardless of whether the student is of lawful age. For purposes of this policy, a CUNY residence hall means a residence hall owned and/or operated by CUNY, or operated by a private management company on CUNY’s behalf. In order to make informed choices about the use of drugs and alcohol, CUNY students and employees are expected to familiarize themselves with the information provided by CUNY about the physiological, psychological, and social consequences of substance abuse.

CUNY Sanctions

Employees and students who violate this policy are subject to sanctions under University policies, procedures and collective bargaining agreements, as described below. Employees and students should be aware that, in addition to these CUNY sanctions, the University will contact appropriate law enforcement agencies if they believe that a violation of the policy should also be treated as a criminal matter.


Students are expected to comply with the CUNY and college policies with respect to drugs and alcohol. Any student found in violation may be subject to disciplinary action under Article 15 of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees, which may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University.

In addition, any student who resides in a CUNY residence hall and who is found to have violated any CUNY or college policy with respect to drugs and alcohol may be subject to sanctions under the CUNY Residence Hall Disciplinary Procedures, up to and including expulsion from the residence hall.

In lieu of formal disciplinary action, CUNY may, in appropriate cases, seek to resolve the matter through an agreement pursuant to which the student must see a counselor or successfully participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program. In accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), CUNY may also choose—when appropriate—to contact parents or legal guardians of students who have violated the CUNY policy on drugs and alcohol.

Medical Amnesty Policy

If you are the victim of or observe sexual harassment or violence while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should report the incident and seek medical help. You will not be disciplined for your drug or alcohol use. However, if you are involved in repeated incidents of drug or alcohol use, medical amnesty may not apply. This policy does not protect you from discipline for other misconduct such as sexual assault, drug sales, causing or threatening physical harm, damaging property or hazing.


Any employee found to have violated this CUNY policy may be subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with the procedures set forth in applicable CUNY policies, rules, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements. Sanctions may include a reprimand, suspension without pay, or termination of employment.

In lieu of formal disciplinary action, CUNY may, in appropriate cases, seek to resolve the matter through an agreement pursuant to which the employee must successfully participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program.

Risks and Consequences of Drug and Alcohol Use


The City University of New York’s Policy on Drugs and Alcohol, adopted by the Board of Trustees on June 22, 2009, prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of drugs or alcohol by employees, students or visitors, on CUNY property, in CUNY buses or vans, or at CUNY-sponsored activities.

It prohibits all students (regardless of their age) from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages in CUNY residence halls. It also prohibits CUNY employees from illegally providing drugs or alcohol to CUNY students. As the Policy states, sanctions for violation of the Policy, following appropriate disciplinary proceedings, may include, in the case of students, expulsion from the university, and in the case of employees, termination of employment.

This document sets forth additional information required to be provided under federal law, including the legal sanctions for drug and alcohol use, health risks of such use, and information regarding available counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs.

Legal Sanctions

Federal and New York State laws make it a criminal offense to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess with intent to distribute, or simply possess a controlled substance. Such substances include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, PCP, marijuana, and a number of common pharmaceutical drugs if unlawfully obtained. The sanctions for violation of these laws, ranging from community service and monetary fines to life imprisonment, depend upon the particular offense, the drug type, and the drug quantity. Students convicted under these statutes may also forfeit federal financial aid eligibility.

Note that an individual need not be in actual physical possession of a controlled substance to be guilty of a crime. The unlawful presence of a controlled substance in an automobile is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of such substance by each passenger unless the substance is concealed on the person of one of the occupants. Similarly, the presence of certain substances in plain view in a room can sometimes be presumptive evidence of knowing possession of such substance by anyone in close proximity.

Further, pursuant to New York State law:

  • Any person under age 21 who is found to be in possession of alcohol with the intent to consume it may be punished by a fine and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or to provide up to 30 hours of community service. Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, § 65-c.
  • Giving or selling an alcoholic beverage to a person less than age 21 is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment up to one year. Penal Law § 260.20
  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated or while his ability to operate such vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, is subject to suspension or revocation of driving privileges in the State, monetary fines up to $1,000, and imprisonment for up to one year. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192
  • A person under 21 who presents false written evidence of age for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase any alcoholic beverage may be punished by a fine, community service and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program. Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65-b(1). Possessing such false evidence may also be criminal possession of a forged instrument, which is a felony in New York, punishable by a fine of up to $5000, imprisonment up to 7 years, or both. Penal Law § 170.25.
  • Appearing in public under the influence of narcotics or a drug other than alcohol to the degree that a person may endanger him or her or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity, is a violation, punishable by a fine and imprisonment up to 15 days. Penal Law § 240.40

BMCC Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program

The college’s Alcohol/Substance Abuse Program is a part of the Department of Student Development/Student Affairs. The purpose of this program is to:

  1. Educate students about alcohol and substance abuse.
  2. Identify students with problems related to alcohol and substance abuse.
  3. Intervene in the lives of students who are affected by such abuse.
  4. Provide counseling and/or referral for students with problems.

The abuse of alcohol or other drugs among students is often related to a personal crisis or problem such as relationship difficulties, feelings of isolation at school, identity confusion, academic or financial pressures, conflicts at home, or drastic change such as an unwanted pregnancy or loss of a loved one.

Services and programs are available through city agencies and community organizations at little or no cost and usually are voluntary and confidential. These services assist those who may have developed an alcohol or drug-related problem, suspect they are at risk for such problems, are affected by the drug or alcohol abuse of others, or seek information about illegal or controlled substances.

The decision to seek out information about substance abuse-related problems is often a complicated one. Staff members in Counseling Center are sensitive to this reality and offer non-judgmental support and guidance as well as a wide range of resources for students, including those who are ambivalent about their own or someone else’s alcohol or drug related problems.

The Counseling Center provides free, confidential counseling and psychological services for BMCC students. These include consultation, short-term psychotherapy, group therapy, and outreach services for a variety of personal and psychological concerns. The staff of psychologists and trainees complies with strict standards of confidentiality. If you require long-term psychotherapeutic or psychiatric services that are not available at The Counseling Center, you can be referred to a variety of other options in the community. In addition, the Health Services office provides information through health and wellness fairs and workshops, brochures, pamphlets and resource information.

On-Campus Resources

Organization Location Contact Information
On-Campus Resources Counseling Center 99 Chambers Street S330 (212) 220-8140 or counseling@bmcc.cuny.edu
Health Services 199 Chambers Street, N303 (212) 220-8255 or healthservices@bmcc.cuny.edu

Off-Campus Community Resources: Hotlines

Organization Hotline Number
National Drug & Alcohol Treatment Referral Service 1 (800) 662-4357
NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services 1 (800) 522-5353

Off-Campus Treatment Options

Type Location Contact Information
Inpatient The Addiction Institute of New York at Roosevelt Hospital (212) 523-6491
Outpatient Triangle Treatment/Arms Acres (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) (212) 399-6901
Outpatient Greenwich House (212) 691-2900
Outpatient Pride Institute (800) 547-7433
Outpatient Cornerstone Medical Arts Building (212) 755-0200


If you have any questions about these programs, or about any other aspect of the information contained in this document, please call the Counseling Center at (212) 220-8140 or Health Services at (212) 220-8255.

If you are an employee, please contact the Office of Human Resource at 212-220-2364.

Mutual/Self Help Groups. (On & Off- Campus)

Many different mutual and self-help programs are available in New York City. These programs generally are free of charge and do not require a long-term commitment. Although most programs are abstinence-based and follow the 12-step approach, there are also programs that support moderation as a goal and/or do not use 12 steps. None of the programs listed below has any religious affiliation, but some may use spirituality as a part of the program.

Meeting times and locations are available by calling the corresponding contact numbers, or viewing the corresponding web- sites. Each meeting is somewhat different from any other (even within the same program) both in terms of structure and participants. New York City supports a huge diversity of meetings — some groups are geared specifically towards men, women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgendered people. Many people find it helpful to explore different options.

Organization Website Phone
Alcoholics Anonymous www.aa.org (212) 647-1680
Alcoholics Anonymous
Of New York
http://nyintergroup.org/ (212) 647-1680
Al-Anon/Alateen www.al-anon-alateen.org/ (212) 941-0094
Marijuana Anonymous www.ma-newyork.org (212) 459-4423
Children of Alcoholics Foundation www.coaf.org (646) 505-2065
Cocaine Anonymous www.ca.org (212) 262-2463
Narcotics Anonymous www.na.org/ (212) 929-6262
Moderation Supports Management www.moderation.org/ (212) 871-0974
Controlled drinking “Smart Recovery” (Not 12-Step or spiritually based) www. smartrecovery.org/ (212) 929-6107

Strategies for Education and Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Throughout the school year, variety internal and external workshops, services and resources pertaining to the education and prevention of alcohol and substance abuse are sponsored by many offices, including The Counseling Center, Health Services, the Women’s Resource Center and Student Affairs. A variety of pamphlets, books, videos, and audios designed to heighten awareness and provide information on the subject is available in these offices. In addition, individual and group counseling and referrals are afforded to students.

Programs and Policies That Make a Difference

The following are some of the strategies in place:

  • Working with local communities and the NYPD to ensure that alcohol is not served to minors or to intoxicated students;
  • Strengthening academic requirements;
  • Scheduling classes on Fridays (This strategy emphasizes the importance of academics and discourages the alcohol-fueled partying that may occur on Thursday nights if students do not need to attend classes on Fridays), &Keeping the library and recreational facilities open longer hours;
  • No alcohol-industry support for athletic programs (Accepting such funding can be seen as sending a mixed message to students);
  • No alcohol promotions and advertising on campus and in campus publications, especially promotions or ads that feature low-cost drinks;
  • Monitoring clubs to ensure compliance with alcohol policies and laws;
  • Providing a wide range of alcohol-free social and recreational activities;
  • Disciplining repeat offenders and those who engage in unacceptable behavior associated with substance use;
  • No alcoholic beverages allowed on the campus.