University of Kentucky Parent Association

Frequently Asked Questions - Alcohol and Drugs

What is UK's alcohol policy? What happens when a student violates UK's alcohol policy?
The alcohol policy is outlined in Part IV of UK's Student Rights and Responsibilities (www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/Code/part4.html). The University typically follows a "three strikes" pattern of sanctions. However depending on the violation's level of severity or previous interactions with the student, the judicial administrator has the discretion to refer the student to any institutional response deemed necessary whether it is education or suspension.

The first time a student violates the alcohol policy he or she is usually required to pay a $100 fee and complete the "AlcoholEdu Sanction" program and then attend a 1.5 to 2 hour "coaching session" where they meet in small groups with their peers who have also violated the alcohol policy. This session will be facilitated by their "coach", who leads the group in discussion about alcohol, safety, goal-setting, and responsible decision-making.

After a second violation, the student may pay a $200 fine and be placed on probation. The student may also be referred to attend PRIME, a 10-hour alcohol education program in a classroom setting. PRIME is delivered in four, 2.5-hour classes over a two week period. Students who are mandated by the court system can typically utilize PRIME to satisfy their court-mandated requirements. Students may also be referred to a counseling center for an assessment. If the student is under the age of 21, his or her parents will be notified. If a student violates the alcohol policy three times, he or she will typically be suspended from the University.

What is UK's illegal drug policy? What happens when a student violates UK's illegal drug policy?
The University does not allow illegal drug use on campus. For drug use, the University typically responds in a pattern similar to that used for alcohol violations. The first time a student is caught using drugs, he or she is usually placed on probation and to attend our group sessions specifically geared towards drug use, at a cost of $100. The student may also be referred to a counseling center for an assessment. There will also be parental notification regardless of the student's age. If a student is caught using drugs a second time, the student will typically be suspended from the University. If a student is caught selling, distributing, or shows intent to distribute drugs on campus, the student is usually suspended on a first offense.

Will UK notify me if my student is in trouble with drugs or alcohol?
You will normally be contacted by the Dean of Students Office only if your student violates the alcohol policy two times and is under the age of 21. For drug use, you will normally be contacted on the first offense regardless of age.

What should I do if I suspect my son or daughter is drinking heavily?
Encourage him or her to meet with someone from the UK Counseling Center. All counseling services are confidential and free to eligible students. Students can call (859) 257-8701 or stop by 201 Frazee Hall to make an appointment. Visit www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/Counseling/ for more information.

What is UK doing to address high-risk alcohol use among college students?
UK takes the issue of college alcohol abuse and underage drinking very seriously. Since 2000, the Campus Community Coalition, which includes UK administrators, faculty, staff, students, local government officials, and community members, has been working diligently to implement environmental management strategies. The Coalition's charge is to identify solutions and make recommendations that will enhance the safety and quality of lives of UK students as influenced by high-risk alcohol use. Four areas of concern were identified and agreed upon by the Coalition: sales/marketing and promotion of alcohol, policies/law, cultural norms, and alcohol-free alternatives. The Coalition continues to meet regularly to address campus alcohol abuse.

The Alcohol & Health Education Office (AHEO), housed in the Dean of Students Office, has several programs to address high-risk alcohol use on UK's campus. Research has found that college students in this generation drink in greater quantity and in greater frequency than any generation before them. Although the AHEO provides information and support for students who choose to not drink, there is a great deal of research-based information and educational methods that are intended to help the safety and well-being of students who choose to drink as well.

Peer education is another vital component of the Alcohol & Health Education Office. The Student Wellness Ambassador program is a peer education network made up of student leaders who have chosen to educate the campus community about issues pertaining to mental wellness and alcohol and drug abuse. They frequently address residence hall students and Greek organizations as well as help organize annual events such as National Depression Screening day, Alcohol Awareness Week, and Spring Break Safety Week.

What is the best way to talk to my student about alcohol?
Studies show that parents remain a key influence after their sons and daughters leave for college. Your opinions and guidance can help your child make responsible decisions regarding alcohol. The following tips can help you stay involved with your student and provide guidance and helpful advice.

Talk about family history. Dependency and substance abuse issues are genetic. If it runs in your family, tell your student so that he or she can make a more informed decision on their choice to drink.

Listen. You won't get far by lecturing. Ask your student to talk about alcohol and other drugs. Find out what concerns he or she has.

Make your expectations clear. College is a huge investment of time and money. Set clear expectations that your son or daughter will focus on academic work and personal development. Underage alcohol consumption and alcohol-impaired driving are illegal. Make it clear that you do not condone breaking the law.

Offer information. Alcohol is toxic. Far too many students die every year from alcohol poisoning. Discourage dangerous drinking such as drinking games or fraternity or athletics hazing. Encourage your son or daughter to have the courage to intervene when someone else is engaging in dangerous drinking.

Get and share the facts. There are many alcohol-related myths out there that just aren't true. The belief in these myths cause people to make choices that can negatively affect their health and safety. You can play a vital role in providing accurate information. To acquire information and facts, please go to our website, www.Q-Authority.org.

Be a good role model. Evaluate your own use of alcohol, tobacco, prescription medicines, and even over-the-counter drugs. Consider how your attitudes and actions may be shaping your son or daughter's choice about whether or not to use alcohol or other drugs.

Talk with your son or daughter about alcohol. While parents may not be able to actively monitor students away from home, they can be available to talk and listen, and that is just as important. It can do more than help shape lives, it can save lives. For these tips and more general information, check out www.edc.org/hec/parents.

You want me to "share the facts." How am I supposed to know the facts?
The Alcohol & Health Education Office works with the Parent Association to supply you with the information you need. Campus alcohol use is addressed at Kentucky Welcome and in Parent Association publications, such as Cat Chat e-mails and the Insider's Guide. If you have any questions regarding programming or education, please contact the Director of the Alcohol & Health Education Office at Drew.Smith02@uky.edu.