Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace Policy Information

California State University, Northridge is fully committed to achieving the aims of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.

The creation and maintenance of a drug and alcohol-free campus depends on you. It is your responsibility to know and comply with the Drug-Free Campus Policy.

It is the policy of California State University, Northridge to maintain a campus free of illicit drugs. It is expressly prohibited to unlawfully manufacture, use, sell, purchase, transfer, or possess of dangerous drugs or narcotics, as those terms are used in  federal statutes.   

Campus regulations prohibit employees and students from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while engaged in work or university sponsored activities on or off campus. This does not include the use of legally prescribed medication that does not adversely affect work ability, job performance, or the safety of the individual or others. The Drug-Free Workplace Act requires that California State University, Northridge employees engaged in work on federal contracts or grants (including financial and work-study employment) abide by the above standard of conduct as a condition of employment.    

Employees shall notify the Associate Vice President of Human Resources of any criminal drug statute conviction which resulted from behavior in the workplace or while on university business no later than 5 days after the conviction. California State University, Northridge is required to notify the federal contracting/granting agency within 10 days of receiving such notice of conviction and to take appropriate corrective action.

Complete text of the Drug-Free Workplace Policy and procedural guidelines may be viewed at:

Health Risks

The following summaries are an overview of the major health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol. Abuse of alcohol and other drugs can lead to chemical dependency and can be harmful during pregnancy.


  • Short-term effects can include slurred speech, reduced inhibitions, motor impairment, confusion, drowsiness, emotional changes, sleep disruption, memory problems, concentration problems, reduced reaction time, decreased breathing and heart functions
  • Long-term effects can include disruption of brain development, brain cell death, liver damage/cirrhosis of the liver, stomach and intestinal ulcers, increases in blood pressure, and other complications
  • Overdose (alcohol poisoning) symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, loss of bladder and bowel control, blackouts (acute memory impairment), mental confusion, temporary loss of consciousness (with snoring/gasping for air), erratic breathing, hypothermia, paleness/blueness of skin, coma, death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Low to high
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Moderate to high
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include shaky hands, sweating, anxiety, nausea/vomiting, headache, insomnia, disorientation*, hallucinations*, seizures*, coma/death* *in more chronic cases
  • Please see "Hazards of Combinations" Category for dangerous combinations involving alcohol

Illicit Stimulants

Amphetamine ("speed"), cocaine, methamphetamine ("crystal meth") and more

  • Short-term effects can include increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature; decreased appetite; shakiness; cramping; anxiety; irregular heartbeat; panic attacks; irritability; paranoia; seizures; strokes
    • When injected, there is an increased risk of infection (HIV and hepatitis)
    • Many methamphetamine users experience skin wounds - "crank sores" (picking at imaginary bugs crawling on skin leads to scabs and infections)
  • Long-term effects can include reduced appetite, tremors, loss of coordination, delirium, panic, paranoia, insomnia, hostility, brain damage, liver damage, chest pain, respiratory failure, nausea, seizures, and strokes
  • Overdose symptoms can include intense chest pain, hallucinations, extremely shallow, slowed or stoppage of breathing, hyperthermia (fever), seizures, and sudden cardiac death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Possible, but rare
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Low (oral); high (snorted, injected IV, or smoked)
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, disorientation, irritability, craving, and sleep disturbance
  • Combining cocaine and alcohol forms a third substance by the liver called Cocaethylene, which intensifies the effects of both drugs and increases risk of sudden death. Single high doses of cocaine or methamphetamine can lead to seizures, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.

Prescription Stimulants

Adderall, Ritalin and more

  • Short-term effects can include increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, decreased appetite, shakiness, cramping, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, panic attacks, irritability, paranoia, seizures and strokes
    • Risks increase when taken in a way or dose other than prescribed.
  • Long-term effects can include damage to brain, blood vessels, liver, and kidneys, infectious diseases (if injected), damage to nose tissue (if snorted), malnutrition, disorientation, confusion, depression, paranoia, hostility, and seizures
  • Overdose symptoms can include intense chest pain; extremely shallow, slowed, or stoppage of breathing; hyperthermia (fever); seizures; and possible death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Possible, but rare
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Low (oral); high (snorted, injected IV, or smoked)
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, depression, disorientation, irritability, craving, and sleep disturbance
  • Combined with alcohol, the depressant effects of alcohol may be blocked, resulting in consumption of potentially dangerous amounts of alcohol


Marijuana, hashish, THC oils and extracts, edibles

Methods of consumption involving THC-extraction (high concentration of psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) have both increased desired and risky effects (e.g., edibles, oils, hash, dabs, etc.)

  • Short-term effects can include slowed thinking and reaction time; confusion; emotional distress; increased heart rate; impaired balance; impaired learning and memory; and lack of coordination
  • Long-term effects can include cough; respiratory infections; impaired learning and memory; increased heart rate; anxiety; panic attacks; and sleep difficulties
  • Overdose symptoms can include fatigue; paranoia; at very high doses a hallucinogen-like psychotic state
  • Risk of physical dependence: Low
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Moderate
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, restlessness, sleep difficulty


  • Short-term effects can include shallow breathing, flushing of skin, heaviness of extremities, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, spontaneous abortion (for women), difficulty urinating, and gastrointestinal distress
  • Long-term effects can include tolerance; liver or kidney disease; if using a needle abscesses, infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis, etc.), and collapsed veins; infection of heart lining and valves; sexual and reproduction impairment in men and women
  • Overdose symptoms can include slow and shallow breathing; clammy skin; constricted pupils; slow heart rate; lack of oxygen to the brain; coma; and death
  • Risk of physical dependence: High
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Very high (IV)
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include restlessness; muscle and bone pain; insomnia; diarrhea; vomiting; cold flashes and goose bumps; and craving
  • Combined with alcohol or over-the-counter medications increases risk of overdose, convulsions, coma, and death

Prescription Opiate Painkillers

Codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone (Vicodin), Methadone, morphine, Oxycodone (OxyContin), Percocet and more.

Prescription narcotic, opiate pain relievers that can be addictive, create a euphoric high similar to heroin. Prescription opioid use, even when used as prescribed by a doctor can lead to a substance use disorder.

  • Short-term effects can include shallow breathing, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, flushing of skin, difficulty urinating, anxiety, and other mood changes
    • Risks increase when taken in a way or dose other than prescribed.
  • Long-term effects can include tolerance; muscle breakdown; kidney failure; cardiovascular problems; increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature; and depression
    • Long-term usage from injection can cause cardiovascular damage, scarred/collapsed veins, risks of infections (HIV, hepatitis, etc.)
  • Overdose symptoms can include slow and shallow breathing; slow heart-rate; clammy skin; constricted pupils; extreme drowsiness; seizure; loss of consciousness/fainting; muscle weakness; coma; and death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Varies, but many carry high risk
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Varies, but many carry high risk
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include restlessness, irritability, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, emotional distress, cold flashes and goose bumps, and craving
  • Combined with alcohol or over-the-counter medicines increases risk of overdose, convulsions, coma, and death


(3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, "ecstasy", "molly")

  • Short-term effects can include jitteriness, muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movements, dizziness, chills, sweating, decreased appetite, sleep difficulties, depression, panic attacks, paranoia, and psychotic episodes
  • Long-term effects can include muscle breakdown; kidney failure; cardiovascular problems; increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature; and damage to serotonin neurons
  • Overdose symptoms can include jitteriness, involuntary teeth clenching, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, panic attacks, loss of consciousness, kidney failure, seizures, coma, and death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Unknown
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Unknown
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, and trouble concentrating
  • Combined with alcohol may cause nausea, vomiting, coma, and death (particularly in active, hot environments). Dangerous when combined with certain antidepressants (MAO inhibitors)

Sedative-Hypnotics & Benzodiazepines

Xanax, Valium, Rohypnol ("roofies"), GHB, Ketamine, Ambien and more

  • Short-term effects can include light-headedness; vertigo; drowsiness; slurred speech; muscle incoordination; impaired learning and memory (from a couple hours to more than a day); anxiety; nightmares; and hostility
    • Risks increase when taken in a way or dose other than prescribed.
  • Long-term effects can include learning and memory impairment; depression; psychotic experiences; aggressive and impulsive behaviors
  • Overdose symptoms can include memory impairment; drowsiness; muscle incoordination; slurred speech; unresponsiveness; loss of reflexes such as blinking, gagging and reacting to painful stimulus; shallow or stopped breathing; heart failure; coma; and death
  • Risk of physical dependence: Low to moderate (benzodiazepines); moderate to high (sedatives); low (hypnotics)
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Moderate to high (benzodiazepines); moderate to high (sedatives); low (hypnotics)
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include sleep disturbance; anxiety; insomnia; tremors; delirium; convulsions; increased heart and blood pressure; auditory and visual hallucinations; seizures; and death. (Medical supervision is needed!)
  • Combined with other depressants (e.g., alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, etc.), can slow down the respiratory system to dangerous levels, increasing risk for convulsions, coma, or death


LSD "acid", mushrooms/psilocybin, PCP, Ketamine, salvia

  • Short-term effects can include visual illusions; hallucinations; altered perception of one’s own body; increased blood pressure and heart rate; anxiety and/or panic symptoms; fear of going insane; suicidal/homicidal ideation
  • Long-term effects can include flashbacks; changes in brain chemistry; depression; other mood shifts; symptoms of schizophrenia (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder), though psychotic symptoms can occur following minimal use as well
  • Overdose symptoms are rare and poorly understood. May resemble a state of psychosis. More dangerous than overdose symptoms are individuals acting on irrational thoughts experienced when under the influence.
  • Risk of physical dependence: Varies none to low; some unknown
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Varies low to high; some unknown
  • Withdrawal symptoms are rare and poorly understood
  • Combined with alcohol may intensify negative experiences (also known as "bad trips") and leave the user intoxicated and experiencing perceptual distortions, which can lead to very dangerous behavior.


Nitrous oxide/whippets, aerosol propellants, nitrates, solvent glue and more

  • Short-term effects can include intoxicating effects, accidents, disorientation, slurred speech, lack of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness, headaches, vomiting, asphyxiation, seizures, coma, and death
    • Use while engaging in sexual activities can also lead to unsafe sexual practices, thus risking transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
    • Higher risk of death from first time use
  • Long-term effects can include central nervous system, brain, kidneys, liver, heart, and lung damage
  • Overdose symptoms can include slurred speech, balance difficulties, headaches, vomiting, suppression of respiration, seizures, and coma
  • Risk of physical dependence: Varies
  • Risk of psychological dependence: Varies
  • Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, loss of appetite, sweating, headaches, sleep difficulties, and mood changes
  • Combined with alcohol, inhalants can dangerously lower blood pressure

Hazards of Combinations

  • Alcohol (a depressant) + Other Depressants (heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, etc.) - heart rate and respiration slows down, increased risk of coma, convulsions, and death
  • Alcohol + Stimulants - can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, coma, and death
  • Alcohol + Antihistamines - intensifies the sedative effects of the drugs
  • Alcohol + Antidepressants - may lead to blood pressure problems; increases sedative effects of the antidepressant; and increases negative effect of alcohol on the liver. Using alcohol with certain antidepressants (MAO inhibitors) can cause potentially fatal sudden increases in blood pressure, known as hypertensive crisis

Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice (2020) Drugs of Abuse: A DEA Resource Guide 2020 Guide
Hart, C. & Ksir, C. (2018). Drugs, Society & Human Behavior. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Kuhn, C., Swartzwelder, S., & Wilson, W. (2019). Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company Inc.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020) Commonly Used Drugs Chart; Commonly Abused Drugs and Withdrawal Symptoms; Commonly Abused Drugs: Prescription and OTCs

Help is available for employees and students with alcohol and drug problems

Faculty and staff may contact the the University’s Employee Assistance Program, for confidential consultation regarding drug or alcohol abuse, or other personal problems at no cost to the employee or member of their immediate family. Log in to the CSUN Portal here if you need the LifeMatters phone number or website password. CSUN Portal > HR > Benefits > LifeMatters. An assessment of the situation will be made and alternatives will be offered which are both appropriate and affordable. All employee health insurance plans include provisions for the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse problems. 

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, related to substance use and any other circumstances, dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Campus Support

Campus resources include:

LifeMatters (Faculty & Staff Only)
(800) 367-7474

University Counseling Services (Students Only)
(818) 677-2366

Steve Silver, Alcohol & Other Drug Counselor (Students Only)
(818) 677-2366

Klotz Student Health Center (Students Only)
(818) 677-3666

Vice President, Student Affairs (Students Only)
(818) 677-2391

Community Support Programs

12-step programs provide support for addiction recovery.

(818) 760-7122

Alcoholics Anonymous
(818) 988-3001

Cocaine Anonymous
(818) 760-8402

Marijuana Anonymous
(800) 766-6779

Narcotics Anonymous
(818) 773-9999

Community Treatment Programs

Local treatment centers include:

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Substance Abuse Prevention & Control
(844) 804-7500

Cri-Help (fee for service)
(818) 985-8323

Tarzana Treatment Centers (fee for service)
(818) 996-1051

National Treatment Locator

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities in the United States or U.S. Territories for substance use/addiction and/or mental health problems.


This section provides information regarding sanctions for violation of campus policies as well as local, state, and federal alcohol and other drug related laws.


Violations of this policy by faculty and staff employees will be reviewed and appropriate action taken pursuant to standard University practices for progressive discipline.  Student employees who violate University policies on alcohol and drugs are in violation of the Student Conduct Code, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, § 41301 Standards for Student Conduct and may be subject to discipline pursuant to Executive Order 1098. While a minor first infraction may result in a warning, subsequent infractions will result in substantial sanctions up to and including expulsion.

Local Law

Proposed legal sanctions for alcohol and other drug violations are decided by the court and filing district or city attorney. Sanctions may include fines, community service, incarceration, and more. searchable municipal code library is provided by American Legal Publishing.

California Law*

Many California laws regarding use, sale, and distribution of alcohol and other drugs can be found in the Business and Professions; Civil; Health and Safety; and Vehicle Codes. Direct links to some of these statutes, which are enforced by the CSUN Department of Police Services, are provided below.

Civil Code

DIVISION 3 Obligations, Part 3, 1714 a-d
Furnishing alcohol to an intoxicated person or minor.

Health and Safety Code

DIVISION 10 Uniform Controlled Substances Act
CHAPTER 1. General Provisions and Definitions 11000-11033
Definitions for various drugs, drug paraphernalia, etc.
CHAPTER 2. Standards and Schedules 11053-11058
Scheduled drugs and derivatives.
CHAPTER 6. Offenses and Penalties 11350-11392
Offenses and penalties for specific substances.
ARTICLE 1. Offenses Involving Controlled Substances Formerly Classified as Narcotics 11350-11356.5
Possession of controlled substance without a prescription and more. ARTICLE 2. Cannabis 11357-11362.9
Possession; use; sale; cultivation, transport; synthetic cannabinoids and more. ARTICLE 2.5. Medical Marijuana Program 11362.7-11362.85
ARTICLE 3. Peyote 11363
CHAPTER 6.5. Analogs 11400-11401

Vehicle Code

DIVISION 11 Rules of the Road 21000-23336
Driving under the influence; Use and possession.
CHAPTER 1. ARTICLE 2 Operation of Bicycles 21200-21213
CHAPTER 12 Public Offenses 23100-23249.50
DIVISION 11.5. Sentencing for Driving While Under the Influence 23500-23675

 Federal Law

The Drug Enforcement Agency's Drugs of Abuse publication provides information on the Controlled substances Act, drug classes, penalties, and resources.