Policies on the Use of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substances

1. University of Kansas Policy Summary

The University of Kansas prohibits the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol and other drugs by students and employees. Medical students found to be abusing or dependent on alcohol or who are found to be using licit or illicit drugs in a manner not in compliance with Federal or Kansas Laws on University property or at University events shall be subject to disciplinary action.

2. KUMC Smoke Free Workplace Policy

The University of Kansas Medical Center also has a "smoke free workplace" policy. Smoking is permitted only at outside designated areas.

3. Kansas University School of Medicine Policy on use of Psychoactive Substances

a. General Philosophy

The Faculty and Administration of the School of Medicine are well aware of the huge cost imposed on American Society by the use of both licit and illicit psychoactive substances. The cost involves not only the monetary cost of health care for abusing and addicted persons, but also the monetary and psychological cost of spousal abuse, abuse of children, homicide, suicide, accidents, accidental deaths, damage to property, legal costs, and the costs of incarceration. The School is also well aware that physicians and student physicians who abuse or who are addicted to alcohol or other psychoactive drugs pose a severe risk to the well being of patients and to the profession of medicine.

Psychoactive substance abuse and dependence are diseases described according to diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Alcohol intoxication, abuse and dependence are the most frequently diagnosed conditions in this category in college students (Alcohol Practices, Policies, and Potentials of American Colleges and Universities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991). While spontaneous remissions are not impossible, they are rare. Most individuals who engage in unhealthy and dangerous drinking practices will need help. Ironically, those most in need of help are usually the least likely to seek it or accept it because of the disease's hallmark-the psychological defense mechanism of denial. In addition, drinking practices and patterns that are harmful frequently become so embedded in student culture that the patterns are not regarded as potential problems for careers and patients. Yet, early confrontation and intervention is the single most important step in arrest of the disease process, and in prevention of harmful effects on career and professional behaviors.

b. Impaired Medical Student Assistance Program.

The primary emphasis of the School of Medicine will be toward the prevention of impairment in medical students caused by the use of psychoactive substances. However, we recognize that medical students may carry with them or develop alcohol and other psychoactive drug use patterns and behaviors that may be diagnosed as abuse or dependence as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The School is committed to a program that will assist impaired students in regaining their health while protecting the well-being of classmates and patients in the Medical Center.

Individuals who abuse or are addicted to psychoactive substances are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Medical School will consider either diagnosis as a threat to the well-being of others.

Medical students suspected of abuse or addiction to alcohol or other psychoactive substances will be given an administrative leave of absence until a professional evaluation and diagnosis can be made. The evaluation and diagnosis must be done under the supervision of a Medical Doctor with qualifications in psychoactive substance abuse evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Medical Students will be asked to sign a waver of confidentiality so that the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or other designated individuals in the School of Medicine can be apprised of the outcome of evaluation an diagnosis.

Students on administrative leave of absence will not be returned to the academic program of the medical school until the School has evidence of evaluation and diagnosis. The Medical School reserves the right to request a second opinion.

Medical students who do not receive a diagnosis of psychoactive substance abuse or dependence will be returned in good standing to the academic program of the Medical School. However, certain conditions and requirements such as counseling or support group activities may be appended to the student's request to return from leave of absence.

Medical Students who receive a diagnosis of psychoactive substance abuse or dependence will be expected to follow the treatment recommendations of the Medical Doctor who supervised the evaluation and diagnosis. A medical leave of absence will be granted for the duration of treatment.

The student will be referred to the Impaired Physicians, Medical Student, and Resident Program of Kansas where his/her treatment, rehabilitation and after care will be monitored. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs or other designated individuals in the School of Medicine will be informed when the Impaired Physicians Committee is satisfied that the student has complied with treatment, is rehabilitated, and is ready to return to the academic program of the School of Medicine. The School of Medicine expects impaired students to maintain an active relationship with the Impaired Physicians Committee as long as they are in the academic program of the School.

Individuals who have been treated and rehabilitated and who do not currently use psychoactive drugs illegally, or who are in the process of completing a professional treatment program may be protected by the ADA. Such students can request special accommodations as recommended by the treating professional. Such students must self-identify to the ADA Coordinator for the Medical Center, who will advocate for the student with the Faculty of the School of Medicine.

c. Guidelines for Referral

1. Student self-referral: Students who are concerned about their patterns of use of a psychoactive substance, alcohol included, should pursue one of the following options.

a. Bring his/her concerns to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The Associate Dean will make confidential arrangements with an appropriate professional for an evaluation and diagnosis.

b. Seek an appointment with a primary care provider and ask for referral to an appropriate professional for an evaluation and diagnosis. If the diagnosis is positive, it is expected that the student will inform the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

c. Obtain an appointment with a Psychologist at the Student Services Counseling Center and ask for referral to an appropriate professional for an evaluation and diagnosis. If the diagnosis is positive, it is expected that the student will inform the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

d. Contact the Kansas Impaired Physician, Medical Student and Resident Program and ask for referral to an appropriate professional for an evaluation and diagnosis. If the diagnosis is positive, it is expected that the student will inform the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The Kansas Medical Society sponsors this program. They can be reached at 1-800-332-0156. Brochures are available in the Office of Student Affairs.

2. Referral by peers: Students usually recognize problems with substance abuse in other students. In most cases, the disease process is in a reasonably early stage of development where intervention has a high degree of success. The referring student(s) should document use patterns and physical behavior that support their concern for the student in question. These concerns should be brought to the Associate Dean For Student Affairs. The School of Medicine will conduct an intervention when the information presented indicates probable alcohol or other psychoactive drug abuse. Confidentiality will be maintained for the referring students unless they wish to inform the student in question.

3. Referral by faculty: Referral by faculty is usually due to a dramatic decrease in academic or clinical performance. The student may appear on rounds or in group activities with alcohol on his/her breath. Major changes in appearance, demeanor, academic performance, attendance, promptness, affect and the development of other erratic behaviors are clues to abuse and addiction. The changes and impaired behaviors should be observed and documented by more than one faculty member or resident, if possible, before submitting the information to the Associate Dean For Student Affairs. Faculty who refer students with probable abuse or dependence problems have the option of confronting the student in question prior to sending the documentation to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or forwarding the documentation with a request for confidentiality.

4. Discipline for Non-compliance

Students who refuse or fail to comply with the policies described above may have their cases referred to the Student Honor Council, the Academic Committee of the Faculty, to specially appointed ad hoc groups designed to provide due process and to determine possible disciplinary actions, or directly to the Executive Dean of the School of Medicine. The route of referral will depend on the seriousness of the non-compliant behavior.

Dismissal from the School of Medicine is a possible outcome of non-compliant behavior.

Last modified: Aug 13, 2012
ID=x6774