Drug Free School Notification | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Drug Free School Notification


In accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, this notification is being sent to each NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) campus members. Its purpose is to serve as a reminder of the health risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse; of College policies related to the illegal possession, use or distribution of drugs or alcohol; of the availability of treatment for drug or alcohol problems through local health service providers and our free Counseling Services; and of the internal sanctions and federal, state and local legal penalties that may result from the illegal sale, possession, consumption, use or distribution of drugs or alcohol.


The United States Department of Education has provided the following information concerning health risks of alcohol. Additional information is available at the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor websites.

Effects: Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses of alcohol can significantly impair judgment and coordination, including that required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also can increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol can cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses can cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will provide the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. Research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics themselves.


The Department of Education has provided the attached chart, Health Risks of Controlled Substances, outlining health risks associated with cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances.  https://students.case.edu/handbook/policy/drugfree/risks.html

NorthWest Arkansas Community College seeks to provide its students, employees and the public with a drug-free environment. The College also has an interest in promoting the highest possible standard of health and welfare among its students, faculty and staff. Therefore, it is the policy of NWACC to discourage the unlawful use of controlled substances and the misuse or abuse of alcohol by its students and employees at any time.

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of alcohol or controlled substances, including illicit drugs, is prohibited on property owned or operated by NWACC or as part of any of its activities.

As a part of its resolve to develop and uniformly apply a general alcohol policy, NWACC is committed to educating members of the College community about alcohol use and abuse. The College regularly provides a wide variety of alcohol education activities, information resources, and support services for students. The College expects responsible behavior by students of legal age who choose to drink alcoholic beverages and requires an environment free of coercion for those who choose to abstain. Therefore, students must adhere to College guidelines for responsible and legal consumption of alcoholic beverages, which are outlined in the NWACC Student Code of Conduct.

NWACC follows all federal, state, and local laws regarding the sale, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Under Arkansas law, it is illegal to sell, provide or serve beer, wine, or liquor to anyone who is under the age of 21. Servers of alcohol and sponsors of social events on campus or a College-sponsored function must be aware of, and comply with, all federal, state, and local laws and with College alcohol policies and procedures

Any student, faculty or staff member found to be in violation of the federal, state and or local laws, or who violates the College's alcohol and other drug policies is subject to disciplinary procedures and/or referral to the appropriate authorities for legal prosecution. The College disciplinary sanctions that can be applied range from a warning for first-time, underage offenders (alcohol only), to probation and dedicated rehabilitation counseling for repeat offenders and those whose behavior suggest the presence of an alcohol/drug abuse problem. However, depending on the circumstances involved, the College may impose any of the sanctions listed in the Student Code of Conduct upon students who are found responsible, up to and including dismissal, and registered student organizations that persistently violate regulations will face the loss of College recognition.


Counseling services are provided to assist students in times of stress or to help overcome barriers to student success. NWACC offers free, confidential, on-campus counseling to any student in need. A Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor is available. Call 479-619-4237 for more information or e-mail counseling@nwacc.edu. Additionally, we can connect students to off-campus resources.


State of Arkansas Sanctions and Penalties

  • Underage DUI Law – The State of Arkansas' "Underage DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Law" (863) makes it an offense for a person under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 or higher (approximately one can of beer, one glass of wine, or one drink of hard liquor) to operate a motorized vehicle. Penalties for a first offense can result in (1) suspension of driver's license for not less than 90 days; (2) a fine of no less than $100 or more than $500; (3) assignment to public service work; and/or (4) completion of an alcohol and driving education program.
  • Driving While Intoxicated – A person who drives a motorized vehicle while influenced or affected by the ingestion of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any intoxicant commits the offense of driving while intoxicated. Penalties for such an offense may include (1) suspension of license for 120 days for the first offense with a blood alcohol content of at least .08; suspension of 180 days for the first offense with a blood alcohol content of .15 or more; suspension for 6 months for first offense if intoxicated by use of a controlled substance; (2) imprisonment for no less than 24 hours and no more than one year for the first offense (with additional imprisonment for subsequent offense); (3) fines of no less than $150 and no more than $1,000 for the first offense (with stiffer fines for subsequent offenses); (4) as inability to pay fines; and (5) a requirement to complete an alcohol education program as prescribed and approved by the Arkansas Highway Safety Program, or an alcoholism treatment program as approved by the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention. A blood alcohol level in excess of .04 may be considered with other competent evidence in determining guilt or innocence. A blood alcohol level of .08 or more shall give rise to a presumption of intoxication.
  • Public Intoxication – A person commits the offense of "Public Intoxication" if (1) he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree that he is likely to endanger himself or other persons or property, or (2) he unreasonable annoys persons in his vicinity. Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor, and can result in a fine of up to $100, and/or imprisonment in the county jail (or other authorized institution) for up to 30 days.
  • Drinking in Public – A person commits the offense of "Drinking in Public" if that person consumes alcohol in any public place. This includes consumption while in a vehicle on a street or highway. Penalties include a fine of up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days. Possession of any alcoholic beverages in Tech residence halls or on any other University property is prohibited.
  • Possession of Alcohol by a Minor – It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess alcohol. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, probation under the direction of the court, and driver's license suspension for a period of up to one year.
  • Knowingly Furnishing to a Minor – A person commits the offense of "Knowingly Furnishing to a Minor" if, being an adult, he or she knowingly purchases for or provides alcoholic beverage to a minor. Such an offense is a Class C misdemeanor and can result in (1) a fine of up to $1,000 and/or (2) imprisonment in the county jail (or other authorized institution) for up to one full year.
  • Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance – It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance. Penalties for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance can range from three (3) years to life in prison and fines up to $250,000, depending on the quantity and type of drug. In addition, real and personal property used in the manufacture, delivery, or importing of controlled substances may be forfeited to the government.
  • Manufacture or Delivery of a Counterfeit Substance – It is unlawful for any person to create, deliver, or possess with intent to deliver a counterfeit substance purporting to be a controlled substance. Penalties for the creating and/or delivery of a counterfeit substance can range from 1 to 20 years in prison and fines up to $15,000, depending on the type of drug being counterfeited.
  • Possession of a Controlled or Counterfeit Substance – It is unlawful for any person to possess a controlled substance or counterfeit substance. Penalties for possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance can range from 1 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000, depending on the type of drug (or counterfeit) possessed.

Federal Sanctions and Penalties

Federal law forbids the illegal possession of controlled substances. A person convicted for the first time of possessing (without the intent to distribute) a controlled substance, other than crack cocaine, may be sentenced to up to 1 year in prison and fined a minimum of $1,000. A second conviction carries a prison term of at least 15 days but not more than 2 years, and a minimum fine of $2,500. A third conviction carries a prison term of at least 90 days but not more than 3 years, and a minimum fine of. $5,000. Imprisonment for 5 to 20 years and a minimum fine of $1,000 apply to persons possessing more than five grams of crack cocaine on the first conviction, three grams on the second, and one gram on subsequent convictions. In addition to the above sanctions, a person convicted of possessing a controlled substance may be punished by forfeiture of property used to possess or facilitate possession or property derived from any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from the violation, if the offense is punishable by more than one year in prison; forfeiture of any conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance; denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, for up to one year for a first Federal or State possession conviction and for up to five years for a subsequent Federal or State possession conviction; ineligibility to receive or purchase a firearm; and a civil penalty of up to $10,000. 

Federal law also prohibits illegal trafficking or manufacturing of a controlled substance. If a person violates this section, he is subject to the specified imprisonment, fine or both. Federal trafficking penalties are set forth in the attached chart, marked Appendix B. The penalties set forth in the attached chart can, under certain circumstances, be enhanced by a multiple of two or three if such offenses are committed at or near a public or private school, college or university, or if the drugs were sold to persons under the age of 21. A trafficking offense committed after a person has been convicted of two previous felony drug offenses results in mandatory life imprisonment. In addition, if convicted of a drug trafficking offense, a person will lose Federal benefits (including school loans) for up to 5 years for a first offense, up to 10 years for a second offense, and for life for a third or subsequent offense.  Federal law also prohibits the sale of drug paraphernalia. The penalty for violating this law is imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine.

Violation of these laws may also be a violation of College policies and could result in civil liability.

This information is provided as a general summary of the major applicable laws.  While it is believed to be accurate at the time of issuance, keep in mind that laws frequently are amended and reinterpreted, that the application of law to specific situations generally requires an analysis of all the facts and circumstances, and that this information therefore should not be substituted for specific legal advice.


These guidelines are in response to the Higher Education Amendments of 1998.  These amendments created an exception to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), enabling colleges and universities to notify parents or legal guardians, under certain circumstances, of a student under 21 that uses or possesses alcohol or a controlled substance. NorthWest Arkansas Community College may establish a collaborative partnership with parents and actively involve them, when appropriate, in addressing student behavior as it relates to alcohol and drugs.

Notification of parents/guardians may be done when the college believes it may help the student.  When practical, conversations normally are held with the student before contact is made with parents/guardians in an effort to determine whether such contact is the best course of action.

Factors that may be considered when deciding to contact a student's parent or guardian are:  A consistent pattern of destructive or harmful behavior; behavior that may affect the student's overall well-being or the well-being of others; behaviors that may jeopardize their ability to remain a student; and/or a situation or imminent danger.

When determining parental notification to be in the best interest of the student, it is the College's philosophy to assist the student in contacting their parent/guardian directly.  In most cases, the College will intervene only when a student is unwilling or unable to contact their parent/guardian.

Questions or concerns regarding these guidelines should be directed to the Dean of Students Office. Phone:  479-619-4234.