Nova Southeastern University, as an institution of higher education, is dedicated to the well-being of all members of the university community—students, faculty members, employees, and administrators. Concerned with the misuse of alcohol and other drugs (both licit and illicit), it is the policy of NSU to endeavor to prevent substance abuse through programs of education and prevention. NSU recognizes alcoholism and drug abuse as illnesses or treatable disorders, and it is NSU’s policy to work with members of the NSU community to provide channels of education and assistance. However, it is the individual’s responsibility to seek help. NSU also recognizes that the possession and/or use of certain substances are illegal. NSU is further obligated to comply with all local, state, and federal laws.
Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked 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 doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce 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 the liver.
Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.
Drug use can have a wide range of short- and long-term, direct and indirect effects. These effects often depend on the specific drug or drugs used, how they are taken, how much is taken, the person's health, and other factors. Short-term effects can range from changes in appetite, wakefulness, heart rate, blood pressure, and/or mood to heart attack, stroke, psychosis, overdose, and even death. These health effects may occur after just one use.
Longer-term effects can include heart or lung disease, cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and others. Long-term drug use can also lead to addiction. Drug addiction is a brain disorder. Not everyone who uses drugs will become addicted, but for some, drug use can change how certain brain circuits work. These brain changes interfere with how people experience normal pleasures in life, their ability to control their stress level, their decision-making, their ability to learn and remember, etc. These changes make it much more difficult for someone to stop taking the drug even when it’s having negative effects on their life and they want to quit.
Drug use can also have indirect effects on both the people who are taking drugs and on those around them. This can include affecting a person’s nutrition; sleep; decision-making and impulsivity; and risk for trauma, violence, injury, and communicable diseases. Drug use can also affect babies born to women who use drugs while pregnant. Broader negative outcomes may be seen in education level, employment, housing, relationships, and criminal justice involvement.
For more information about the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs please see the resources below:
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute on Drug Abuse
There are serious health risks associated with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. If you, a fellow student, teacher, or coworker has a problem with abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, help can be provided at programs at NSU and in the community.
Henderson Student Counseling Center For an appointment, call (954) 424-6911 or (954) 262-7050 3538 South University Drive (in University Park Plaza) Davie, Florida 33328 nova.edu/healthcare/student-services/studentcounseling.html
Florida Department of Education, Office of Safe Schools 325 West Gaines Street, Room 1444 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 (850) 245-0416 • SDFS@fldoe.org fldoe.org/schools/safe-healthy-schools/safeschools/index.stml
Healthy Lifestyles Guided Self-Change Program For an appointment, call (954) 262-5968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 3301 College Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796 nova.edu/gsc
Florida Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse Program Office 1317 Winewood Boulevard Bldg. 6, Room 299 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 (850) 487-2920 myflfamilies.com/service-programs/substance-abuse
Broward Behavioral Health Coalition 1715 SE 4th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 (954) 622-8121 bbhcflorida.org
Alcoholics Anonymous: (954) 462-0265 Narcotics Anonymous: (954) 476-9297
When you use or deal in drugs or abuse alcohol, you also risk incarceration and/or fines. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines outline federal penalties for trafficking in drugs. In addition to the federal sanctions, Florida State Statutes provide sanctions in regard to the use, possession, and/or sale of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol. Punishment varies depending upon the amount and type of drug and/or alcohol involved. Felony convictions range from one year to life imprisonment. Misdemeanor convictions range from less than 60 days to one-year imprisonment. For additional information, please refer to Chapters 316 and 893 of the Florida Statutes, or consult with a legal representative of your choosing.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines