Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act — Annual Notification 

Monday, September 18, 2023, 10:00am

TO: All SSU Employees
FR: Erin Taylor, Director of Employee and Labor Relations

Commitment to a Safe and Healthy Campus

Sonoma State University is committed to providing a safe, healthy, and productive work and academic environment for all members of our campus. Consistent with our concern for the well-being of faculty, staff and students, it is the policy of the University to maintain a work and academic environment free from drug and alcohol abuse. Employees must remain free from the influence of controlled substances or alcohol while on duty. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale, offer to sell, offer to purchase and/or unlawful use of controlled substances or alcohol on campus, or as any part of University-related activities, is prohibited. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, LSD, and amphetamines.

As a condition of employment, all California State University (CSU) employees (faculty, staff and student employees) must comply with the CSU Drug-Free Workplace Policy. The Sonoma State University Drug-Free Workplace Policy is available at https://www.sonoma.edu/policies/drug-free-workplace.

Dangers of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

All drugs, including controlled and legal substances, and alcohol are toxic and/or poisonous when abused. Using drugs or alcohol impairs decision-making and physical abilities, which can be a deadly combination when on the job. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause problems at work including:

  • Safety concerns and accidents when using equipment
  • After-effects of substance use (withdrawal) affecting job performance
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentrationIllegal activities at work including selling illegal drugs to other employees
  • Psychological or stress-related effects due to drug or alcohol abuse by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person's job performance

Health risks of drug abuse include but are not limited to sleep disorders, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, deep depression, malnutrition, liver and kidney damage, cardiac irregularities, hepatitis, and neurological damage.

Alcohol is a depressant. It depresses the central nervous system and can cause serious physical damage. Excessive drinking damages the liver, resulting in cirrhosis. Chronic alcohol abuse also causes hypertension; cardiac irregularities; ulcers; pancreatitis; kidney disease; cancer of the esophagus, liver, bladder or lungs; memory loss; tremors; malnutrition; vitamin deficiencies; and possibly sexual dysfunction. Abuse of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirths.

Employee Assistance Programs

The primary focus of Sonoma State University’s substance abuse prevention program is education and counseling. As part of this program, the University will provide educational workshops for faculty, staff, and students to address the medical, health, psychological, social, and legal ramifications of illicit drug and alcohol use. Sonoma State’s Employee Assistance Program (offered through Empathia at mylifematters.com) will continue to provide information, evaluation, counseling, and referral service to employees seeking help with personal, emotional, substance abuse, or chemical dependency concerns. 

Sonoma State recognizes drug and alcohol dependency as treatable conditions and offers employee support programs for individuals with substance dependency problems. Employees are encouraged – but not required – to seek assistance for drug- and alcohol-related problems.

Employees can contact Empathia Pacific at (800) 367-7474, or mylifematters.com (password “sonoma”).

The LifeMatters website offers free assessment tests for alcohol and drug screening and drug abuse screening, a General Risk Health Assessment, and related articles and resources.

LifeMatters provides up to three counseling sessions for employees and/or their family members to assist with problems related to substance abuse or chemical dependency. Services provided directly by LifeMatters are free for all employees. If you are referred to outside resources, you will be advised about associated costs.Use of LifeMatters or a counselor is confidential unless your safety or the safety of another individual may be at risk.

Penalties for Violating the Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Local, state, and federal laws establish severe penalties for violations of drug and alcohol statutes. These sanctions, upon conviction, may range from a fine to life imprisonment. With possession or distribution of illegal drugs, these sanctions could include the seizure and summary forfeiture of property, including vehicles. Any person found in a public place to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs and unable to care for his/her own safety or interfering with a public way can be charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor offense. The Sonoma State Police Department will enforce these laws.

The complete Drug Abuse and Alcohol Prevention Program (DAAPP) report can be found here.