Drug Free Environment and Drug Prevention Program

Board Policies

It is the intention of the District to provide an environment that maximizes academic achievement and personal growth. The District recognizes that alcohol and other drug use or abuse pose a significant threat to the health, safety, and well-being of users and the people around them. Substance abuse also interferes with academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular interests and can lead to health, personal, social, economic, and legal problems.

Alcohol and drug abuse, addiction, and dependency, are behavioral/medical problems. Because the District's primary intent is to be helpful, not punitive, programs have been developed to deter alcohol and other drug abuse. First, education is provided about alcohol and other drug-related hazards and associated problems. Second, a program of assistance and referral is available to aid individuals who are experiencing alcohol and other drug-related problems. And third, disciplinary procedures are applied to uphold the District policy regarding alcohol and other drug use.

In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, students and employees of the Coast Community College District are notified of the standards, possible sanctions, and health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the programs available to students, staff, and faculty.

Related Board Policies and Administrative Regulations are available here:

For violations of these standards of conduct, the College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students up to and including expulsion, and on employees up to and including termination of employment, in addition to possible referral for prosecution, pursuant to law, District policies and regulations, and applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Standards of Conduct for Students & Employees

The District shall be free from all unlawful drugs and from the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs by students and employees.

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited on District property; during District-sponsored field trips, activities, or workshops; and in any facility or vehicle operated by the District.

The possession, sale, or furnishing of alcohol on campus is governed by California state law and this Policy. The possession, sale, consumption or furnishing of alcohol is controlled by the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control.

However, the enforcement of alcohol laws on college premises is the primary responsibility of the Campus Public Safety Department. Each college within the District and the District Office have been designated "Drug free," and only under certain circumstances is the consumption of alcohol permitted.

It is unlawful to sell, furnish or provide alcohol to a person under the age of 21. The possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 years of age in a public place or a place open to the public is illegal. It is also a violation of this policy for anyone to consume or possess alcohol at any District facility without prior District approval.

Organizations or groups violating alcohol or substance policies or laws, may be subject to sanctions by the District.

In addition to this policy, AP 5500 Student Code of Conduct (which applies to all District students) clearly prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol or illicit drugs on District property or as part of any District or College activity.

Legal Sanctions

The Federal Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq, imposes federal penalties and sanctions for illegal trafficking and possession of a controlled substance.

Federal law has set 21 as the minimum age to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverages. Specific ordinances regarding violations of alcohol laws, including driving while intoxicated, are available from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). State laws pertaining to the possession, use and distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs are available in the California Health & Safety Code (California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Health & Safety Code §§ 11000 et seq) and the California Business and Professions Code. A summary of pertinent laws and associated penalties/sanctions is included in AP 3550.

The following are criminal penalties for unlawful possession of controlled substances:

  • Under California state law, possession of any amount of certain controlled substances is punishable by up to one year of incarceration in a county jail, pursuant to Sections 11054 and 11350 of the Health & Safety Code. Unlawful possession of marijuana or cannabis is punishable based upon the amount involved, ranging up to a fine of $500 and six months of incarceration in a county jail, pursuant to Section 11357 of the Health & Safety Code.
  • Under federal law, possession of a "controlled substance" is punishable by up to three years imprisonment, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 802 and 844(a).

The following are criminal penalties for unlawful distribution of controlled substances:

  • Under California law, the sale of, or purchase with the intent to sell, certain controlled substances is punishable by up to four years of incarceration, pursuant to Section 11351 of the Health & Safety Code. The sale of, or purchase with the intent to sell, marijuana, is punishable by a term of imprisonment in a county jail of up to three years, pursuant to Section 11359 of the Health & Safety Code and Section 1170(h) of the Penal Code.
  • Under federal law, the penalties for unlawful distribution of controlled substances is complex. Please view the summary of penalties

Health Risks Associated with Substance Abuse

Alcohol or other drugs used in excess over time can cause illness, disability and death. The health consequences of substance abuse may be immediate and unpredictable, such as liver deterioration associated with the prolonged use of alcohol. The use or abuse of alcohol and other drugs increases the risk for several health-related and other medical, behavioral and social problems.

  • Regular users of alcohol and other drugs often have erratic lifestyles which interfere with sleep, nutrition, and exercise, impacting school and job performance.
  • Health problems include hangovers, blackouts, motor vehicle accidents, injuries, general fatigue, impaired learning, dependency, disability, and death.
  • Personal problems include diminished self-esteem, deterioration of the family structure, domestic violence, alienation from reality, anxiety, depression and suicide.
  • Social problems include loss of friends, academic standing, or co- and extracurricular opportunities, alienation from and abuse of family members, and chronic conflict with authority.
  • Economic problems include financial difficulties such as loss of job, loss of education aid eligibility, homes, savings, and other assets.
  • Legal problems include loss of driver's license, limitations on career choices, fines, and jail sentences.
  • Repeated use of alcohol and other drugs can lead to dependence.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse, addiction and dependency are behavioral/medical problems.

Alcohol At-risk drinking causes a loss of concentration and judgment, slowed reflexes, and disorientation leading to a higher risk of injuries from accidents. At-risk alcohol consumption can cause problem behaviors such as arguments, fights, assaults, and dangerous sexual behavior. Long-term health risks include sleep problems, cancer, liver disease, stroke, depression and anxiety. When consumed rapidly and in large amounts, alcohol can cause coma and death. Combining medications (prescribed or not prescribed) with alcohol can have unpredictable and dangerous health consequences. 

Amphetamines (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin) can cause short-term effects such as rushed, careless behavior and pushing beyond your physical capacity. Long-term effects include physical and psychological dependence and withdrawal potentially resulting in depression and suicide. Continued high doses can cause heart problems, infections, malnutrition and death.

Cocaine (Blow, Crack, Snow, Rock) is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant drug. Cocaine can cause irritability, hypersensitivity to sight, sound and touch, confusion, paranoia, hostility, extreme happiness, high energy, impaired judgment, restlessness, dilated pupils, fast or irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, raised body temperature, nausea, muscle twitches and tremors. Long-term effects of cocaine depend on the method of use including:

  • Snorting and smoking: damage to the respiratory system such as loss of smell, nosebleeds, cough, asthma, lung infections, and respiratory distress
  • Oral intake: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
  • Needle injection: increased risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis C, collapsed veins, skin infections and scarring

Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD, Peyote, DMT, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan, Psilocybin, Salvia) are a varied group of drugs that alter perception, thoughts and feelings. Hallucinogens cause extreme distortions of what one sees and hears including hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real but are not. Health effects include increased heartrate, blood pressure, breathing rate and temperature, nausea, uncoordinated movements, excessive sweating, heightened sensory experiences, changes in perception of time, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. Some hallucinogens interfere with emotion, the perception of pain, environmental responses, learning and memory. High doses of hallucinogens can cause seizures, coma and death.

Marijuana (Cannabis) can cause altered senses, impaired body coordination, mood changes, impaired memory, difficulty thinking and problem solving, an altered sense of time, anxiety, paranoia, breathing problems, intense nausea and vomiting, and worsening of preexisting mental health or heart problems. Marijuana affects brain development which may impair memory, thinking and learning functions for those who began using marijuana as teenagers. Higher THC levels, particularly in edibles and marijuana extracts, can deliver dangerously large amounts of THC to the body.

Methamphetamine (Meth, SpeedCrystal, Ice, Chalk) is a stimulant drug in pill or powder form taken by smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injecting. Methamphetamine use may cause decreased appetite, rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, and increased breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, and restlessness. Long-term use of methamphetamine increases the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, severe dental problems known as 'meth mouth,' extreme weight loss, skin sores from intense itching, and mental health concerns such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping, confusion, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations. Methamphetamine addicts exhibit severe changes to the brain involving emotion and memory.

Opioids include illegal heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and prescription pain medications including codeine, morphine, OxyContin, and Vicodin. Ongoing use of opioids, even when prescribed by a doctor, can lead to dependence, abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. Harmful effects of opioids include confusion, euphoria, drowsiness, slowed breathing, nausea, and constipation. Slowed breathing decreases the oxygen to the brain potentially leading to short- and long-term neurological and psychological effects including coma, permanent brain damage, and death. Using opioids in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, or a baby with opioid dependence exhibiting withdrawal symptoms.

  • Prescription Opioids relax the body and treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids are highly addictive; overdoses and death are common. Prescription opioids include Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Opana, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.
  • Heroin (Smack, Big H, Horse, Hell Dust) is made from morphine and can be a white or brown powder, or black sticky tar heroin. Heroin is injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked and is one of the world's most dangerous opioids. Long-term use leads to malnutrition infection, and hepatitis – sharing of needles is the leading cause of the spread of HIV and hepatitis.
  • Fentanyl is a powerful analgesic synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Prescription fentanyl such as Duragesic, Actiq, Sublimaze is used to treat severe pain or chronic pain in those who cannot tolerate other opioids.

Treatment for Opioid Overdose: 

If you suspect an opioid overdose, call 911 and administer naloxone. Narcan Nasal Spray rapidly blocks the effects of the opioid drugs allowing the person to breathe. The significant increase in overdose deaths has led public health efforts to make naloxone available for at-risk persons and their families, and first responders.

Counseling, Treatment & Rehabilitation

The District offers a wide variety of educational opportunities to its students, employees and the community which address alcohol and other drug-related issues. Information about a formal course is available in the college catalogs, class schedules, and through the counseling centers. Additional educational opportunities include awareness activities, conferences, film/videos, and lectures, some of which are offered in conjunction with other colleges and community agencies. These activities are publicized at each College and the District Office.

Although substance abuse is a serious problem that can affect your academic, personal, and professional life, it is also a treatable problem. Resources are available to provide you with the help you or a friend may need.  GWC students and employees are encouraged to seek immediate help through any of the following resources.

GWC students can seek help through the Student Health Center by calling 714-895-8379 where medical and mental health professionals are available to provide assistance.

Employees of the District will be referred to or have the ability to take part in drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential assistance and support program for employees in crisis. District employees may also access inpatient and outpatient counseling and treatment programs currently offered through the employee's medical provider. Paid leave is available for employees to attend inpatient or outpatient drug or alcohol programs.

Students and staff may be referred to groups or agencies such as the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Co-Dependents Anonymous
  • Other appropriate self-help groups
  • County regional mental health team
  • Private treatment agencies

GWC Resources

Student Health Center
Medical assessment, short-term counseling, referrals to counseling & treatment

(714) 895-8379 or on campus, call ext. 58379

The Student Health Center is in the Nursing & Health Services building on the first floor

Campus Public Safety
Safety and legal questions and concerns

24 Hour Phone:
(714) 895-8924

Emergency Numbers:
(714) 895-8999 or Dial 911

Office located in the Southwest corner of the campus next to Nursing & Health Services (Goldenwest St. and Edinger Ave.)

Employee Assistance Program
Free, confidential help
Anthem Blue Cross (800) 999-7222
Please enter CCCD for member log in.

Community Resources 

Turning Point Center for Families

Adult counseling groups for substance abuse, alcohol, anger management and domestic violence. Sliding scale fees for individual therapy.  Services are available in English, Spanish, and Farsi.

(714) 547-8111

3151 Airway Ave F-206A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Mariposa Women & Family Center

Provides outpatient counseling for women with alcohol and drug related concerns. Fees are based on income and family size. Individual counseling is available in Spanish.

(714) 547-6494

812 W. Town and Country Rd., Orange, CA 92868

Orange County Mental Health

Services include substance abuse treatment, medication support and rehabilitation. Fees are based on ability to pay. Services available in Spanish and Vietnamese.

(714) 480-6767

1200 N. Main St. Suite 200, Santa Ana, CA 92701

OCC Links: (855) 625-4657

Woodglen Recovery

Services include free assessment and referral, individual treatment planning, individual and group counseling. Contracted by the County of Orange.

(714) 879-0929

771 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832

Salvation Army

The Adult Rehabilitation Program is offered within a residential rehabilitation facility. Housing, meals, clothing and rehabilitation services are provided without cost to participants. Programs last from six months to one year depending on the needs of the individual.

(714) 758-0414

1300 S Lewis St, Anaheim, CA 92805

SMART Recovery

A science-based addiction recovery support group (face-to-face and online) where participants learn self-empowering techniques to aid their recovery.

Orange County Alcoholics Anonymous

A mutual aid fellowship to help its members stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. 24-hour hotline provides information on local AA offices and meetings.

24-hour hotline: (714) 556-4555

Orange County Central Office: 1526 Brookhollow Dr., Ste 75, Santa Ana, CA 92705-5466 

Orange County Narcotics Anonymous

A non-profit fellowship who meet regularly to help each other live drug-free. 24-hour hotline provides information on local NA offices and meetings.

24-hour hotline: (714) 590-2388

Distribution of Policy

This policy is intended to comply with the minimum requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 for all colleges in the District. The District distributes annually to each student and each employee the information required by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and complies with other requirements of the Act.

Review of Policy

The District will perform a biennial review of its alcohol and drug prevention program and retain the records of that review in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education requirements.

For More Information

For more information concerning this policy, contact the Vice President of Student Services at (714) 895-8130.