Drugs and Alcohol

The policy statement on drugs and alcohol is designed to address the University’s concerns about substance abuse and to ensure that the Harvard community complies with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (the “Drug-Free Workplace Act”) and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (the “Drug-Free Schools Act”).

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances or alcohol is prohibited in or on Harvard premises, in vehicles provided by Harvard, at any worksite or location at which University duties are being performed by Harvard employees or students, or as part of any of Harvard’s activities. Common examples of controlled substances, as defined by law, are cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. The University will take disciplinary action against violators, consistent with federal, state, and local laws. Such action may include requiring satisfactory participation in a substance-use-disorder treatment, counseling, or education program as a condition of reinstatement or continuation with Harvard; suspension; and referral for prosecution. Although Massachusetts law now permits adults age 21 or older to possess and consume marijuana under certain circumstances, federal law prohibits the possession, use, or distribution of marijuana, including for medical purposes, on Harvard property or as part of a Harvard activity. Thus, even if the possession or use of marijuana would be permitted under Massachusetts law, it remains prohibited on campus.

Additionally, the misuse of prescription drugs (sharing, buying, or using in a manner different than that prescribed) is a violation of University policy.

Because of the considerable health risks involved in drug and alcohol use, resources are available to assist the Harvard community in dealing with drug and alcohol use disorders.

These programs and offices are part of Harvard’s ongoing effort to maintain a drug-free workplace. The University will adhere to strict policies of confidentiality for all participants in drug/alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs, as described in University and federal regulations covering the confidentiality of student health records.

Information about alcohol at the School is available in the alcohol policy for student organization events, as outlined in the Student Organization Handbook.