Annual Notification Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act

Annual Notification Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989

January 26, 2017  

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (the “Acts”) require colleges to publish their policies regarding the possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students or employees on campus.  Onondaga Community College’s policies are published in the centralized policy manual, the college catalog, and the employee handbook.  This notification supplements those policies.  

Student Alcohol and Drug Policies 

Alcohol is prohibited on campus except in the case of approved events where the sale and service of alcohol is conducted by the College, an affiliated organization, or an approved contractor/vendor in accordance with New York State Law.

Prohibited behaviors involving alcohol:

  1. Alcohol Use, Sale/Distribution, and Possession. 
  2. Paraphernalia: Use, display or possession of any paraphernalia associated with alcohol.
  3. Impairment/Behavior: Use of alcohol that leads to impairment which causes disorderly, destructive, or violent behavior to self or community.

Sanctions for violations may include any or all of the following:  fines, a letter to the student’s parents, substance abuse evaluation and treatment programs, disciplinary probation, suspension and dismissal, as well as referral for possible prosecution. 

Prohibited Behaviors Involving Drugs:

Illegal drugs and controlled substances, as well as drug paraphernalia, may not be possessed, used, or distributed on campus. 

  1. Consumption, Under the Influence, Display, Sale/Distribution, Possession of unlawful controlled substances, and/or synthetic materials.
  2. Drug Paraphernalia: Use, display or possession of any paraphernalia associated with unlawful drugs and/or controlled substances, or synthetic materials. This includes altered or constructed devices used to conceal or consume.
  3. Look-alike Drugs: Possession, consumption, distribution, use of and/or forcing another to ingest “imitation drugs” or synthetic materials that are either not intended for human consumption or used to elicit effects similar to an illegal drug or a substance or drug being used for an unintended purpose (i.e. synthetic cannabis, herbal incense, and or herbal smoking blends, Whip-it and other similar products)

The sanction for the possession, use, or possession with apparent intent to distribute drugs (including marijuana, even in small quantities) may range from disciplinary probation to dismissal, and could include a requirement of substance abuse evaluation and treatment programs, as well as referral for possible prosecution. 

Employee Alcohol and Drug Policy 

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of illegal drugs or controlled substances on College premises or while conducting College business off College premises is absolutely prohibited. Alcohol may not be consumed or ingested by any employee while on duty, while conducting College business, while assigned to drive a College vehicle or while driving a personal vehicle for College business, the sole exception being lawful and appropriate use of alcoholic beverages by employees at social events with appropriate connection to the College and approval of the College. Alcoholic beverages are only allowed on College premises for special events expressly approved in writing in advance by the President’s Office, and with the provision of a New York State Liquor License through College Food Service. Illegal drugs or controlled substances are never allowed on College premises. Any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and may have legal consequences. The College will comply with all applicable laws regarding drug and alcohol use and testing.

Onondaga Community College has established an alcohol and drug testing program to help prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse or abuse of alcohol and/or drugs by covered drivers of commercial motor vehicles in compliance with the Federal Regulations codified at 49 CFR Part 40, and 49 CFR Part 382, and pursuant to the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. The regulations apply to all employees who operate or may have cause to operate a commercial vehicle and are subject to the commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements established by the Department of Transportation.

The College may require employees to undergo appropriate drug or alcohol testing where it has reason to believe that such employees have used or may be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances. Employees who experience significant work performance problems or who become involved in significant incidents or accidents which are reasonably believed to be caused by substance abuse may also be required to undergo appropriate drug testing. All drug and alcohol testing will be conducted by appropriate personnel and submitted to an independent laboratory for analysis.
Employee acknowledgement and consent to this policy and procedures is a term and condition of continued employment. Refusal to consent to drug and alcohol testing will be considered gross misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Alcohol and Illicit Drug Health Risks  

Alcohol and illicit drugs are toxic substances that affect the mind, body and spirit.  Excessive drinking causes health risks including damage to your organs (liver, heart and digestive tracts), impaired physiological responses (decreased brain activity, digestion and blood circulation), and mental and emotional disorders (loss of memory, impaired judgment and personality changes).  Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death.  Alcohol consumption has been demonstrated to be a contributing factor in instances of violent crimes, such as rape and murder, and deaths from drunk driving.  Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome leading to irreversible mental and physical abnormalities.  In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics. 

Drug abuse is dangerous and can lead to death.  An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma and death.  Continuous use of drugs can lead to organ damage, mental illness and malnutrition.  Drugs consumed via injection increase the risk of AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases.  Drug abuse can also contribute to aggressive and violent behavior, mental illness, and exacerbate suicidality. 

Summary Legal Sanctions Covering Alcohol and Drug Abuse  

embers of the OCC community should be aware of legal penalties applied for conviction in cases of drug and/or alcohol abuse. Local, state, and federal laws make illegal use of drugs and alcohol serious crimes. Convictions can lead to imprisonment, fines, and assigned community service. Courts do not lift prison sentences in order for convicted persons to attend college or continue their jobs. An offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the type and the amount of the substance(s) involved.  A felony conviction for such an offense can prevent a person from entering many fields of employment or professions.  


Alcohol offenses and penalties in New York State are defined by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and Penal Law. They include driving while intoxicated, while ability is impaired by alcohol, after consuming alcohol while under age 21, furnishing alcohol to a person under age 21, selling alcohol to an intoxicated person, or providing false identification. The four acceptable forms of I.D. for alcohol service in New York State are a driver's license, a non-driver's I.D., a military I.D., or a passport. In addition, New York State General Obligations Law imposes personal injury liability for damages resulting from furnishing alcohol to persons under age 21 or selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. The city of Syracuse prohibits the consumption of alcohol, or the possession of an open container with intent to consume, in any public place or private property without the owner's permission. A summary of offenses and penalties is provided below: 

  • Serving Alcohol to Persons Under 21: 
    • Up to 1 year in jail, $1,000 fine 
  • Fraudulent Attempt to Purchase Alcohol  (using false ID or ID of another person):
    • Fine up to $100, community service up to 30 hours, and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program, 90 days license suspension if a New York State drivers license is used as the false I.D. 
  • Possession of Alcohol by Person Under 21:  
    • Up to $50 fine and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program and/or up to 30 hours of community service   
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)  (.08 blood alcohol content):  
    • 1st offense--up to 1 year prison, $500 to $1,000 fine, minimum 6 months license revocation
    • 2nd offense in 10 years--up to 4 years prison, $1,000 to $5,000 fine, minimum 1 year license revocation   
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)  (.05-.07 blood alcohol content):  
    • 1st offense--up to 15 days jail, $300 to $500 fine, license 90-day license suspension
    • 2nd offense in 5 years--up to 30 days jail, $500 to $750 fine, minimum 6months license revocation  
    • 3rd offense in 10 years--up to 180 days jail, $750 to $1,500 fine, minimum 6-months license revocation   
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle after Consuming Alcohol while under age 21  
    • License suspension or revocation and $125 charge   
  • Possession of Open Container in Public Place:  
    • Up to 15 days in jail, $150 fine   


The State of New York Public Health Law prohibits: growing marijuana or knowingly allowing it to be grown without destroying it; selling or possessing a hypodermic needle without a doctor's written prescription; or manufacturing, selling, or possessing with intent to sell an imitation controlled substance. The State of New York Penal Law and federal laws define a wide range of offenses and penalties for possessing or distributing marijuana and other controlled substances. In addition, driving a motor vehicle with ability impaired by drugs is subject to the same New York State law and sanctions as driving while intoxicated. A more complete description of these offenses and penalties is provided below:  

A. Possession and Distribution of Marijuana 

1. Unlawful Possession 

  • 1st offense--fine less than $100 
  • 2nd offense--fine less than $200
  • 3rd offense--fine less than $250  

2. New York State Penal Law Sanctions for Criminal Possession and Sale (Degree depends upon amount of substance seized) 

  • 5th Degree:  Class B Misdemeanor 3 month imprisonment or less
  • 4th Degree:  Class A Misdemeanor 1 year imprisonment or less
  • 3rd Degree:  Class E Felony 4 years imprisonment or less
  • 2nd Degree:  Class D Felony 7 years imprisonment or less
  • 1st Degree:  Class C Felony 15 years imprisonment or less 

3. Federal Sanctions for Sale of Marijuana  

  • A first offense of trafficking in marijuana in amounts of less than 50 kg may result in imprisonment of not more than 5 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000. Imprisonment and fine minimums are doubled for a second offense
  • Trafficking in marijuana in quantities greater than 1,000 kg may result in not less than 10 years and not more than life imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $4 million (minimums double for a second offense)
B. Possession and Distribution of Other Controlled Substances (methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogue)

1. State Penal Law Sanctions for Possession and Sale  (Degree depends upon substance, amount of substance, age of purchaser, and prior record) 

  • 7th Degree:   Class A Misdemeanor  1 year imprisonment or less
  • 5th Degree:  Class D Felony 7 years imprisonment or less 
  • 4th Degree:   Class C Felony 15 years imprisonment or less 
  • 3rd Degree:  Class B Felony 6 to 25 years imprisonment 
  • 2nd Degree:  Class A-II Felony 3 to 8 years to life imprisonment
  • 1st Degree:  Class A-I Felony 15 to 25 years to life imprisonment

2. Federal Sanction for Possession of a Controlled Substance 

  • First conviction: Up to one-year imprisonment and fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or both
  • After one prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fine of at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or bot
  • After two or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days prison, not to exceed 3 years and fine of at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000, or both.
  • Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory at least 5 years in prison, not to exceed 20 years, and fine of up to $250,000, or both if:
    • 1st conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams;  
    • 2nd conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams;  
    • 3rd or subsequent conviction and the amount of crack exceeds one gram
  • Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one-year imprisonment
  • Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance 
  • Civil fine up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations
  • 853a: Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to 1 year for first offense, up to 5 years for second and subsequent offenses
  • 922(g): Ineligible to receive or purchase a firear
  • Miscellaneous: Revocation of certain federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc., are vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies  

3. Federal Sanctions for Sale of Controlled Substances  

  • Penalties range from imprisonment for less than one year and/or a fine of less than $100,000 for a first offense involving a small quantity of a controlled substanc
  • For a large quantity, second offense, the penalty may be as severe as 20 years to life imprisonment and a fine of not more than $8 million.

College Resources Related to Substance Abuse 

Alcohol abuse and illicit drug use are serious societal problems.  To help contend with such problems, and to prevent drug or alcohol use that adversely affects academic and job performance and safety, the following programs are available in the area for students and employees.  Although a student’s or employee’s rehabilitation efforts will be encouraged, participation in any program will not serve as protection against the normal disciplinary process associated with a violation of the College’s alcohol and drug policies. 

  • AOD programming presented by Residence Life
    • During the first few weeks of each semester, programming in the residence halls focuses on campus policies, including Alcohol and Other Drugs; this includes:
      • large scale program
      • 4 RA facilitated programs (one per residence hall)
      • Passive programming (e.g., bulletin boards, mailbox stuffers, door knocking, etc.
    • There is also an additional week of AOD programming each semester, in collaboration with the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, which includes:
      • 1-2 large scale programs
      • RA facilitated programs
      • Passive programming
    • Professional and Student staff training in the residence halls:
      • Protocol Response – staff are trained on the protocols and procedures for incident managemen
      • “Behind Closed Doors” – This allows staff to run though potential incidents that occur in the residence halls prior to the start of the semester with the support of returning staff member
      • Additional training is facilitated by Campus Safety, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, Counseling, etc. on their collaborative role with Residence Life in terms of incident response and necessary follow up
  • AOD prevention and response training for RAs and RHDs, presented by the Office of Student Conduct
    • Review of the Student Code of Conduct and standard sanctions
    • Training on how to respond to incidents involving alcohol and/or other drugs in the residence halls
    • Training on how to write AOD-related incident reports
    • Focus on strict and consistent enforcement of standards of conduct in the residence halls
    • Bystander intervention training
  • Presentation of AOD and Student Code of Conduct-related material to parents at Parent Information Sessions during summer Orientation session
    • Reminder of Onondaga’s status as a dry campus and our no tolerance policy on alcohol and other drugs (regardless of a student’s age)
    • Review of the Student Code of Conduct and standard sanctions
    • Information on counseling and other support services available to students
  • Distribution of AOD and Student Code of Conduct-related material to students during Orientation, Welcome, and other campus events
    • Student Conduct tabling and distribution of Student Conduct Process Handbooks
  • Coordination of Community Policing initiative by Campus Safety and Security
    • Robust surveillance systems in the residence halls and on campus\
    • NARCAN training for response to heroin use
    • Field sobriety and drug interdiction training
    • Meetings with local police, fire, and emergency management offices to support new methods of alcohol and other drug use preventio
  • Identification of and intervention for high-risk students through We Care, Onondaga’s Behavioral Intervention Tea
    • Review and discussion of incident reports, submitted by faculty, staff, administrators, or other students, for students whose behavior is of concern (often AOD-related
    • Identification of support person(s) best suited to intervene and reach out to students
    • Discussion of students’ progress and identification of alternative strategies for intervention, as needed
  • Voluntary AOD programming available to all students, including:
    • ThinkFast, an alcohol and drug education program
    • Twisted Halloween, an alcohol and other drugs awareness event
    • Gravestone Project, a heroin use awareness and prevention program
    • Glow Golf, a Red Ribbon alcohol abuse prevention program
  • Mandatory AOD education for student-athletes
    • AOD education is presented by faculty and staff in the athletics department for approximately 300 student-athletes annually\
  • Additional support for students provided by Onondaga’s Community Care H
  • The Community Care Hub is a system of community-based support services and resources for OCC students to remove non-academic barriers, such as food and housing insecurity, that inhibit educational progress.  Based on a Public Health and Social-Ecological Model, the Hub reflects the unique needs of OCC students and leverages community partnerships to focus on prevention for all students, destigmatize help-seeking, increase access to services, and help students develop long-term resilience to avoid future emergencies.  The project includes a social norms campaign focusing on AOD prevention
  • Health care benefits for treatment of alcohol and drug problems are available through the health insurance policy available to employees.  
  • New employees receive an “onboarding” session in Human Resources by a member of the Human Resources Team.  Each employee receives the Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) pamphlet from our service provider, Crouse Hospital’s “HelpPeople”.  An explanation of the free and confidential nature of the program is provided to new employees.  Questions are solicited at this time.  There is a supply of EAP pamphlets outside the Human Resource Department for easy access for employee
  • A member of the Employee Assistance Program attends the annual Employee Benefits Fair and mans a table and is available not only for employee questions, but to provide information on the services
  • Employees are invited to attend programming on campus geared toward students such as speakers/presenters on AOD topics as well as the ability to attend projects like the “Gravestone Project”
  • The campus complies with all regulations regarding drug testing for persons who hold a CDL License or operate College vehicles
  • Any employee who seeks rehabilitation through an inpatient program may be eligible for an unpaid leave of absence in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act.   


This notification is distributed in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (the “Acts”).  In compliance with the Acts, Onondaga Community College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees (consistent with local, State and federal law) as described above, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, for violations of the standards of conduct described above.