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The use, possession, or carrying of any kind of firearm or illegal and dangerous weapons on the property of an institution of higher education is a violation of state laws and the University of Hawaiʻi System policies and is strictly prohibited. Illegal and dangerous weapons include, but are not limited to, firearms, ammunition, spear guns, explosives, tasers, and dangerous substances. Any person found in violation may be subject to all applicable state and federal laws, university policy, and the Student Conduct Code. Should you suspect or discover someone on campus in possession of a weapon, contact UH Hilo Campus Security immediately. Violations may result in an arrest and/or suspension from UH Hilo. Since 2003, public displays of any type of “replica” firearm are illegal; this includes pellet, air, water, and toy guns.

Drug and Alcohol Use

The UH Hilo prohibits the illicit use, sale, attempted sale, conveyance, distribution, manufacture, cultivation, dispensation, purchase, attempted purchase, and possession of illegal drugs, intoxicants or controlled substances at any time and in any amount or in any manner. Illicit drugs include all drugs for which possession is illegal under federal or state law, including prescription drugs for which the individual does not have a valid prescription.

The purchase, consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in facilities under the control of UH Hilo shall in all respects comply with state laws and with guidelines as defined in System Policy and Regulation. Misconduct may result in arrests and/or disciplinary action and penalties. Among the violations that could result in penalties are:

  • The purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages by anyone under age 21.
  • The furnishing of alcoholic beverages to anyone under age 21.
  • Public Intoxication as defined by State Law

Consumption of alcoholic beverages shall be limited to the areas designated by the UH Hilo and shall be subject to all requirements of state law, local laws and UH Hilo regulations. Any use of alcoholic beverages should be in moderation. Loud or disruptive behaviors, interference with cleanliness of facilities, or drinking habits that are harmful to the health or education of an individual or those around him/her are reasons for appropriate disciplinary action by UH Hilo administration.


The use, possession, consumption, sale, manufacture, or furnishing of illicit drugs and narcotics, including marijuana and drug paraphernalia, is prohibited by state law and UH Hilo regulations. Violations may result in arrest, suspension or the completion of a mandatory drug and alcohol education program.

Substance Abuse Programs

Substance abuse programs are held by University staff several times a year and may be attended by UH Hilo students. Student Health and Wellness Programs (SHWP) provides systems of holistic care that integrate education and prevention efforts with medical and mental health services, programs, and activities.

University Policy on Drugs

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo recognizes its duty to uphold existing State and Federal laws regarding the unlawful possession, use, and sale of marijuana, hallucinogens, and other drugs, and cannot protect any member of UH Hilo community who violates the law.

Accordingly, any person discovered on campus by College officials in illegal possession of marijuana, hallucinogens, or any of the other drugs proscribed by the penal law will be subject to sanctions up to and including expulsion from UH Hilo. In every case, the drugs found will be turned over to the proper authorities and, should the facts warrant, the person as well will be turned over to the proper authorities.

Any student arrested by civil authorities in connection with illegal possession or use of drugs will be subject to disciplinary action by UH Hilo if it is judged that his/her actions have been detrimental to the general welfare of UH Hilo community, or that his/her general mode of life has rendered him/her unfit to pursue the normal College program.

Should guests, or anyone purporting to be a guest of students or of anyone else in UH Hilo community, bring drugs on campus, UH Hilo will take immediate action by notifying the proper authorities. Since UH Hilo does not consider itself a “sanctuary” outside the law for its own students, faculty or staff, neither can it be a place of refuge for persons not a part of UH Hilo community. Loitering on campus is subject to the specifics of penal law in this regard, and UH Hilo recognizes its freedom to act within the context of this law.

Standards of Conduct/Prohibition of Illicit Drug Use

The use, consumption, sale, purchase, possession, manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and/or alcohol while on University property or while engaged in University activities is prohibited. All students and team members are subject to this policy and to applicable federal, state and local laws related to this matter. Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary actions as set forth in the applicable sections of this policy. UH Hilo recognizes that students and team members may, in accordance with the federal, state and local laws, choose to use alcohol on their own time. Additionally, the University retains the right to grant limited exceptions to this policy only for the moderate consumption of alcohol during University-sponsored events or meals at which the University deems such moderate consumption to be acceptable.

Resources and Referrals

Campus Resources

Counseling Services offers resources, workshops, group and individual counseling, and referral for members of UH Hilo community regarding substance use and abuse.

Workshops to provide educational information and encourage preventative attitudes and behaviors are open to all students. Topics include creating social alternatives to alcohol-related activities, learning to manage stress without alcohol or drugs, recognizing the warning signs of substance abuse in self and others, intervening when friends or family members appear to be engaged in alcohol or substance abuse, and understanding issues of adult children of alcoholics. Counseling is available to all enrolled students. Referral to community resources is available to all enrolled students. All referrals respect the privacy of the individual and counseling is confidential.

Alcohol and Drug Resources

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-help program which offers support and assistance for those with alcohol dependency;
  • Al-Anon provides mutual support and assistance to families and friends of alcoholics. To find a local meeting, please call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).
  • Alateen is a self-help group for children of alcoholic parents, led by non-professionals who have had similar experiences. To find a local meeting, please call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).
  • Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 888-425-2666, is part of the support network. This phone number has an automated service which will provide demographic information on meetings in any locale simply by entering your zip code. There is no fee for this service or for Al-Anon.
  • The Alcohol Addiction Center’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) information helps you learn the effects of alcohol and calculate your blood alcohol concentration based on your body and the drinks you have consumed.

The resources listed above have been compiled with the intent of centralizing publicly available resources that may be useful to our students. It should be noted, however, that UH Hilo does not endorse any of the resources on the list. Students are implored to discern the organizations’ offerings to determine appropriateness for their individual circumstance. UH Hilo does not accept liability for any activities of students or institutions in connection with these resources or their representatives. Additionally, we strive to maintain accuracy. Please notify us if you encounter any discrepancies or difficulties.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Treatment, and Rehabilitation

UH Hilo urges individuals with substance abuse problems to seek assistance and support. Students are encouraged to seek help through available national and community resources and hotlines including, but not limited to, the following examples:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Telephone: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA Website
SAMHSA Treatment Finder
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Telephone: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
NIAAA Website
NIAAA Treatment Finder
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
NIDA Website
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Telephone: see local telephone directories
AA Website
Telephone: 1-888-425-2666
National Cocaine Hotline
Telephone: 1-800-COCAINE (262-2463)

University Employees are eligible to participate in the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Faculty and Staff are encouraged to contact Human Resources with additional questions.

Alcohol Screening
To complete a free, anonymous, alcohol screening, please visit AlcoholScreening.org.
Drug Screening
To complete a free, anonymous, drug screening, please visit DrugScreening.org.
The Medicine Abuse Project
The Medicine Abuse Project website includes information about prevention of prescription drug abuse, painkiller addiction, and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse. It provides information about how to dispose of medicine and how to safeguard the medicine in your home, as well as lists medicine abuse facts and includes comprehensive information about the most abused prescription drugs.

Preventing Abuse

While it's practically impossible to prevent anyone and everyone from using alcohol and drugs, here are five ways to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

Effectively deal with peer pressure

The biggest reason individuals start using alcohol and drugs is because their friends utilize peer pressure. No one likes to be left out, and people find themselves doing things they normally wouldn't do, just to fit in. In these cases, you need to either find a better group of friends that won't pressure you into doing harmful things, or you need to find a good way to say no. Prepare a good excuse or plan ahead of time to keep from giving into tempting situations.

Deal with life pressure

People today are overworked and overwhelmed, and often feel like a good break or a reward is deserved. But in the end, alcohol and drugs only make life more stressful - and many all too often fail to recognize this in the moment. To prevent using alcohol and drugs as a reward, find other ways to handle stress and unwind. Take up exercising, read a good book, volunteer with the needy, and create something. Anything positive and relaxing helps take the mind off using alcohol and drugs to relieve stress.

Seek help for mental illness

Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand. Those with a mental illness may turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to ease the pain. Those suffering from some form of mental illness, such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder should seek the help of a trained professional for treatment before it leads to substance abuse.

Examine the risk factors

If you're aware of the biological, environmental and physical risk factors you possess, you're more likely to overcome them. A history of substance abuse in the family, living in a social setting that glorifies alcohol and drug abuse and/or family life that models alcohol and drug abuse can be risk factors.

Keep a well-balanced life

People take up alcohol and drugs when something in their life is not working, or when they're unhappy about their lives or where their lives are going. Look at life's big picture, and have priorities in order.

How much is too much?


The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo subscribes to the Drug-Free Work Place Act of 1988 (34CFR, Part 85, Subpart F), the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226) and section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. UH Hilo strictly prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as part of any of its activities per UH Policies; The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees (consistent with local, state, and federal law), up to and including dismissal from the University or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, for violation of these standards of conduct. Disciplinary sanctions may also include the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program.

Description of Sanctions for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Federal law makes it a criminal offense to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, or simply possess a controlled substance. See Title 21 U.S. Code section 801, et seq. Controlled substances are defined by the schedules contained in section 812 of Title 21 of the U.S. Code.

The possible sanctions for the violation of Federal and State law depend upon the particular offense violated. The various offenses are premised on aggravating factors which include the type and quantity of drugs involved.

Depending upon the particular aggravating circumstances involved, violations of said law could result in sanctions from a monetary fine to life imprisonment.

Sanctions (Federal, State, and Local Law)

Students and team members should be aware that they are criminal penalties – under federal, state, and local law – that make it illegal to use, manufacture, sell or possess controlled substances. Students must also be aware that there are federal financial aid penalties for drug-related convictions – received prior to and/or while receiving aid – that can affect student eligibility to receive federal financial aid. For additional information regarding federal financial aid and the implications of drug-related convictions, please visit the Office of the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website.

Institutional Sanctions for Drug and Alcohol Violations

Students and team members found participating in the use, consumption, sale, purchase, possession, manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and/or alcohol while on University property or while engaged in University activities shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions on a case-by-case basis. Students are expected to conduct themselves professionally and refrain from acts of misconduct set forth in the Student Code of Conduct, published in the University Catalog.

Suspected acts of misconduct or violations of this policy should be reported to the appropriate authority for review. Substantiated violations may result in disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the University. Employees are expected to observe high standards of ethical, moral, and legal business conduct. Violation of these standards of conduct or this policy may result in corrective action, up to and including termination of employment. Suspected violations should be reported to Human Resources and/or via the UH Hilo Care Team.

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A federal or state drug conviction (but not a local or municipal conviction) can disqualify a student for FSA funds. The student self-certifies (FAFSA question) in applying for aid that he or she is eligible.

Convictions only count against a student for aid eligibility purposes if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period, unless the student was denied federal benefits for drug trafficking by a federal or state judge (see drug abuse hold sidebar). Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when he or she was a juvenile, unless he or she was tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

Offense Possession ofIllegal Drugs Selling Illegal Drugs
1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
3rd Offense Indefinite period Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends (i.e., for a 1st or 2nd offense); or when he or she successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make him ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain eligibility after completing any of the following 3 options:

  1. Successfully completing a rehabilitation program, as described below, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program;
  2. Having the conviction reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record; or
  3. Successfully completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of a rehab program (the student does not need to complete the rest of the program).

In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the Financial Aid Office that he or she has successfully completed the rehabilitation program.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

Health Risks Associated with the Use of Drugs and Alcohol

There are serious physical and psychological health implications associated with the use and/or abuse of drugs and alcohol that vary based on the frequency, extent, and intensity of consumption. When consumed in excess, drugs and alcohol can also lead to overdose or death. Drug use can cause changes in the brain that result in memory and cognition problems or lead to more severe consequences such as seizures, stroke, and possible brain damage. Alcohol use can impair brain function and motor skills; excessive use can increase the risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease. Drug and alcohol use while pregnant may result in a number of health complications for the fetus such as premature birth, miscarriage, and low birth weight.

Description of Health Risks Associated with Drug and Alcohol Use

A drug is a chemical substance that has an effect upon the body or mind. Alcohol is defined as a drug. Drugs and alcohol are capable of impairing judgment and physical capacity and diminishing individual performance in activities of daily living. Problems associated with inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol are complex in nature.

One class of drugs is the sedative-hypnotic which relaxes the central nervous system. These include alcohol, barbiturates, tranquilizers (depressants), marijuana and hashish.

Alcohol is clearly the nation’s most common drug of abuse. With moderate drinking a person may experience flushing, dizziness, dullness of senses and impairment of coordination, reflexes, memory and judgment. Taken in larger quantities, alcohol may produce staggering, slurred speech, double vision, dulling of senses, sudden mood changes, and unconsciousness. When used over a long period of time and in larger amounts, it can cause heart and liver damage, and death from overdose and car accidents.

Synthetic Cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice) are a variety of substances which invoke in the user experiences that are similar to that of marijuana but contain no actual marijuana. Instead, these substances are often made of other plant materials to which chemicals have been added to produce psychoactive changes in the brain. The packages may be labeled “natural”, however, they are actually made of synthetic compounds that are sold over the counter in gas stations, head shops and over the internet. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has designated these substances as Schedule 1 Controlled Substances. Therefore, it is illegal to sell or possess them. However, the manufacturers of these products may evade the law by frequently changing the chemical compounds that they use. The DEA continues to monitor the situation by updating their list of banned substances. There is a misperception among some young people that these drugs are safe, when in fact, they are extremely dangerous. Some of these products are sold as “incense.” These products are abused mainly through inhalation or smoking. Sometimes they may be mixed with marijuana or prepared as a drink. Users report elevated mood, relaxation and altered perception. Negative effects include psychotic episodes with extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations. Other negative symptoms that have been reported to poison control centers include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations. These substances may also raise blood pressure and cause reduced supply of blood to the heart. In a few cases, heart attacks have been reported. With regular use, withdrawal and other addiction symptoms may occur. It has not been fully verified but there is a public health concern that there may be heavy metal residues in these products. The National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) is engaged in further research on synthetic cannabinoids.

Barbiturates and tranquilizers (central nervous system depressants) can cause intoxication and produce such signs as tremors of the hands, lips and tongue, confusion, poor judgment and poor muscular coordination, drowsiness, slurred speech, and constricted pupils.

Marijuana and hashish alter mood and perception and produce anxiety, euphoria, talkative behavior, floating feelings, and hunger. They interfere with memory and intellectual performance and can impair concentration. Long-term, regular marijuana smoking causes irritation of the respiratory tract and can produce lung disease and possible damage to the heart and immune system.

Nicotine acts as a stimulant on the heart and nervous system. When tobacco smoke is inhaled the immediate effects on the body are a faster heartbeat and elevated blood pressure. Young smokers may experience shortness of breath and a nagging cough. Some long-term effects of smoking cigarettes are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, coronary heart disease, and lung cancer.

Caffeine, one of the oldest and most widely used stimulants, is found in coffee, tea, cola, and some cold medications. Dependence on caffeine generally develops in habitual users, with headaches being the most common symptom of withdrawal.

Cocaine, whether it is smoked (crack), injected, or snorted, is risky in all forms. Physical effects include dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and body temperature, and restlessness and anxiety.

Amphetamines increase alertness and activity and are often referred to as speed, uppers, pep pills, and diet pills. Mood swings, irritability, nervousness, and muscle pain are some of the effects of continued use. With use of amphetamines, hallucinations, paranoia, convulsions, brain damage, heart problems, and death occur.

Hallucinogens (psychedelics) include PCP, LSD and mescaline. Hallucinogens temporarily distort reality, cause visual hallucinations, perceptual distortion and psychotic experiences, and sometimes depression and flashbacks.

Opioids are medications that relieve pain (analgesics) by way of reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. Opioids affect those areas of the brain that control emotion, thus diminishing the effects of a painful stimulus. These analgesic medications include Oxycodone (Percocet), Morphine, and Codeine. They can produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and, depending upon the amount taken, then can depress respiration and lead to death. Opioid abusers may attempt to intensify their experience by snorting or ingesting, thus raising their risk for serious medical complications, including overdose.

Long term use may lead to physical dependence and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms of dependence and addiction include musculoskeletal pain, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, cold flashes, (goose bumps), and involuntary leg movements.

Heroin is an opioid. It is one of the most dangerous drugs in existence. The dangers are physical, psychological, and social. Its use is often fatal as the risk of overdose to the user is very high.

Heroin dependency frequently causes the deterioration of the moral, physical, and intellectual fiber of an individual. Heroin abuse frequently impairs the user’s health, emotional well-being, family life, job performance, and friendships.

UH Hilo is aware of the stresses associated with daily living, and strongly urges that the entire UH ʻohana addresses these stresses by participating in holistic behaviors. It is our goal to assist in this endeavor by creating an environment that promotes and reinforces healthy and responsible living.

This list is not exhaustive. Please use caution when using any over-the-counter or other medication. For further information about the effects of these drugs, please contact Counseling Services.

Health Risks

Several health risks are associated with the use of illegal substances and alcohol. Some of the major risks include:

  • Alcohol - physical and psychological dependence, automobile accidents due to impaired ability and judgment, damage to the development of unborn children, and deterioration of vital organs such as the liver and brain.
  • Amphetamines (Speed, uppers, etc.) - physical and psychological dependence, elevated blood pressure, loss or coordination, stroke, high fever, and heart failure.
  • Cocaine - physical and psychological dependence, sudden cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, severe depression, and paranoia.
  • Hallucinogens (PCP, Angel Dust, LSD, acid, etc.) - physical and psychological dependence decreased muscular coordination, hallucinations, incoherent speech, loss of memory, severe depression or anxiety, and violent episodes.
  • Marijuana - physical and psychological dependence, paranoia, impaired short-term memory and comprehension, damage to the lungs and pulmonary system, and increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Narcotics (heroine, codeine, morphine, etc.) - physical and psychological dependence, nausea, convulsions, coma, premature or addicted infants, and increased risk of hepatitis or AIDS from contaminated syringes

The following is a summary of the various health risks associated with alcohol abuse and use of specific types of drugs. This summary is not intended to be an exhaustive or final statement of all possible consequences to your health of substance abuse, but rather is intended to increase your awareness of the grave risks involved in this kind of behavior.


Alcohol consumption causes several marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol may increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts. Moderate to high doses of alcohol may cause marked impairment in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses may cause respiratory depression or death. If combined with other depressants, dependency may occur. 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 can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. Females who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and intellectual disabilities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are more at risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.


Narcotics are drugs that relieve pain, often induce sleep, and refer to opium, opium derivatives, and synthetic substitutes. Opioids and morphine derivatives can cause drowsiness, confusion, nausea, feelings of euphoria, respiratory complications and relieve pain. These include: codeine, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, heroin, morphine, opium, Oxycodone HCL, and hydrocodone bitartrate, acetaminophen.


These drugs speed up the body's nervous system and create a feeling of energy. They are also called "uppers" because of their ability to make you feel very awake. Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. When the effects of a stimulant wear off, the user is typically left with feelings of sickness and a loss of energy. Constant use of such drugs can have very negative effects on the user. In order to prevent extreme negative side effects of these drugs and the impact they have on life, drug treatment centers are often recommended. Stimulants include: cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, Ritalin, and Cylert.

Depressants (Sedatives)

Depressants slow down activity in the central nervous system of your body. These drugs are also called "downers" because they slow the body down and seem to give feelings of relaxation. Depressants are available as prescription drugs to relieve stress and anger, although drowsiness is often a side effect. The "relaxation" felt from these drugs is not a healthy feeling for the body to experience. To stop abuse of this drug, drug treatment is suggested. Depressants include: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, Flunitrazepam, GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate), Methaqualone, alcohol, and tranquillizers.


When taking hallucinogens, switching emotions is frequent. These drugs change the mind and cause the appearance of things that are not really there. Hallucinogens affect the body's self-control, such as speech and movement, and often bring about hostility. Other negative side effects of these drugs include heart failure, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and changes in the body's hormones. Hallucinogens include: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), Mescaline, and Psilocybin.


These drugs result in feelings of euphoria, cause confusion and memory problems, anxiety, a higher heart rate, as well as staggering and poor reaction time. Cannabinoids include hashish and marijuana.