Drug and Alcohol - Employees 



Policy Name:

Drug and Alcohol – Employees


Dr. Kara Battle
Vice President, Chief Academic Officer (Revision)


Human Resources and Talent Management

Effective Date:

April 3, 2018; November 22, 2019 (Revision); February 4, 2022 (Revision)

Next Review Date:





Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations
North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act; (DFSCA)
Part 86 of the Department of Education’s General Administrative Regulations


Policy Statement 

Durham Technical Community College is committed to the well-being of the College community and to promoting and providing a safe and healthy environment. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of controlled substances or alcoholic beverages is prohibited on College premises and at College-sponsored activities.

Durham Technical Community College understands that substance abuse is an extremely complex issue that can impact the safety and welfare of the College community. Therefore, the College pledges its cooperation to maintain a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program as required by federal law.


The purpose of Durham Technical Community College’s (Durham Tech’s) Drug and Alcohol policy is to maintain a safe and productive teaching and learning environment and to be in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988; the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA); Part 86 of the Department of Education’s General Administrative Regulations; North Carolina Administrative Code Title 13, Chapter 20; and the North Carolina Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act.

This policy applies to all full-time and part-time employees of Durham Tech, including students employed under the Federal Work Study Program. This policy applies during all working hours, lunch or break periods, while operating a College vehicle, and at all times when employees are on College premises and/or participating in College-sponsored activities. The following are exceptions to the policy and the procedure supporting it:

  •  Employees who are either enrolled in or provide instruction for courses that require the use or consumption of alcoholic beverages on College premises as part of the curriculum may use or consume alcohol during class/lab time only. Employees may be required to sign a waiver in order to participate in the instructional activity.  
  • The President or their designee has the right to give special written permission to serve alcohol at College events.


Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Actions

All Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) employees are required to meet standards of conduct and are expected to perform their job duties unhindered by drugs and alcohol. Employees who fail to meet these standards and/or are found to be in violation of College policies or procedures will be subject to disciplinary sanctions consistent with local, state, and federal law and as detailed in the College’s Disciplinary Actions, Suspension, and Termination of Employment policy.

Legal Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Employee use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs is not prohibited when taken in recommended dosages or according to a physician's prescription. Employees must determine whether a drug may interfere with their safety, the safety of others, or job performance. The employee is responsible for following appropriate personnel procedures (e.g., using leave, notifying supervisor) if any use of legal drugs presents a potential safety risk.

The illegal or unauthorized use, intentional misuse, abuse, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter drugs by employees is prohibited.

Drug and Alcohol Examinations

With limited exceptions, Durham Tech does not require routine drug and alcohol examinations as a condition of employment. However, the College reserves the right to require an employee to submit to a drug or alcohol examination when there is reasonable cause or suspicion that the employee may be under the influence. Bases for reasonable cause or suspicion include but are not limited to the following:

  • Observations by College personnel of apparent workplace use, possession, or impairment;

  • Workplace accidents resulting in the employee and/or other individuals needing medical treatment; and

  • Property damage incidents resulting in more than minimal damage.

Examinations shall be conducted in an approved laboratory chosen by the College and in accordance with all provisions of the North Carolina Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act. All drug examination information shall be maintained separate from employees’ personnel files. The College shall not release this information except under circumstances defined in NCAC 20.0503.

Examination Process

  1. When a supervisor or College official has a reasonable suspicion or has received a report that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the supervisor or administrator shall immediately document the incident in writing and seek corroboration, if possible. Corroboration is not required for escalation to Human Resources.

  2. The supervisor or administrator shall consult the Director of Human Resources and Talent Management as soon as is practicable. If the Director of Human Resources and Talent Management supports the examination recommendation, they will make the examination arrangements, including the employee’s transportation. The employee will not be permitted to drive.

  3. After the examination, the Director of Human Resources and Talent Management will arrange for the employee to be taken home unless the employee is admitted for further examination or care. The employee will not be permitted to drive.

Any employee who refuses to submit to an examination, adulterates or dilutes the specimen, substitutes the specimen with that from another individual, sends an imposter, does not sign the required consent forms, or refuses to cooperate in the examination process in such a way that prevents completion of the examination shall be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The College may also require the satisfactory completion of a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program as a precondition for continued employment.

Notification of Convictions and Other Drug-and Alcohol-Related Issues

Employees are required to inform the College, in writing, within five (5) calendar days of being convicted for violation of any federal, state, or local criminal drug or alcohol statute when such violation occurred while in the workplace, on College premises, or as part of any College-sponsored activity. A conviction shall mean a finding of guilt (including a nolo contendere plea) or the imposition of a sentence by a judge or jury in any federal or state court.

Employees aware of issues (substance abuse, convictions, or other concerning behavior associated with alcohol or legal or illegal drugs, etc.) involving another employee and that may impact the College community, occur on College property, or take place during a College-sponsored activity should contact the Director of Human Resources and Talent Management immediately. Reporting employees are protected from retaliation, harassment, and adverse employment consequences. Consult the Whistleblower policy for more information.

Employees aware of issues (substance abuse, convictions, or other concerning behavior associated with alcohol or legal or illegal drugs, etc.) involving a student or any non-employee member of the College community that may impact the College community, occur on College property, or take place during a College-sponsored activity should contact appropriate College personnel (e.g., Campus Police and Public Safety, instructors, advisors, counselors, student services staff) immediately.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program (DAAPP)

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) and Part 86 of the Department of Education’s General Administrative Regulations requires Durham Tech to certify that it has developed and implemented a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program. The program must be designed to prevent the unlawful possession, use, and distribution of drugs and alcohol on College premises and at College-sponsored events and activities. Durham Tech’s DAAPP disclosure must include the following:

  • A written statement about the College’s standards of conduct that prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees;

  • A written description of legal sanctions imposed under federal, state, and local laws and ordinances for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol;

  • A written description of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol abuse;

  • A written description of any drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation/re-entry programs that are available to students and employees; and

  • A written statement that the College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees for violations of the institution’s codes of conduct and a description of such sanctions.

The DAAPP must be actively distributed annually to all employees by Human Resources; the Director of Human Resources and Talent Management shall serve as the main employee contact and will have oversight responsibility for the DAAPP including but not limited to updates, coordination of information required, annual notifications, and the biennial review.

A biennial review of the DAAPP will be conducted every odd year by the Compliance Committee. In accordance with statutory requirements, the biennial review must:

  • determine the program’s effectiveness and identify needed changes;

  • identify the number of drug- and alcohol-related arrests and referrals that occur on College premises (as defined in the Clery Act) or during College-sponsored activities and are reported to College officials;

  • identify the number and type of sanctions imposed by the College as a result of drug- and alcohol-related violations and fatalities on College premises or during College-sponsored activities; and

  • ensure that sanctions imposed for violations of the standards of conduct addressed by the DAAPP are consistently enforced.

The Compliance Committee’s responsibilities include the following:

  • revising Durham Tech’s DAAPP to account for any changes to the DFSCA and/or state or federal law;

  • ensuring Durham Tech’s DAAPP and current Durham Tech policies and procedures are reflective and not contradictory; and

  • evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of Durham Tech’s DAAPP, and responding accordingly.

Additional Guidance

Participation materials for College-sponsored events (e.g., registration forms, liability waivers, etc.) may offer additional guidance regarding the use of alcohol and misuse of prescription drugs.

Supplemental Information

Please see the appendices.


Please Note: Some of the terms defined here are not contained within the text of this policy. They are defined here because they are referenced in external resource documents and/or related laws and statutes.

Alcohol/Alcoholic Beverages – Beverages containing at least one-half of one (1) percent (0.5%) alcohol by volume, including beer, wine, liquor, and mixed beverages

College Official – A College employee who serves in one of the following roles: President, Executive Vice President, Chief of Staff, Vice President, or Chief of Police

College Premises – Any property in use by the College including property that is leased, owned, used for College functions, or used by the College in the offering of any of its courses.

Controlled Substance – Any drug listed in the Schedules of Controlled Substances (21 CFR Part 1308) and other federal regulations as well as those listed in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act. Generally, these are drugs which have a high potential for abuse. They include but are not limited to the following: cocaine, heroin, marijuana, PCP, and “crack.” They also include any “legal” drugs that have not been prescribed specifically by a licensed physician.

Drug Paraphernalia – All equipment, products, and material of any kind used to facilitate, or intended or designed to facilitate, violations of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.

Drugs – Drugs referred to under this policy include alcoholic beverages, all illegal drugs as defined in the NC Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act, and misused legal drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter).

Employees – Individuals of any status (full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary) who are employed by Durham Technical Community College. Students employed under the Federal Work Study Program are considered College employees if the work performed is for the College. For work performed for a federal, state, local public agency, a private nonprofit or a private for profit agency, students are also considered College employees unless the agreement between the College and the organization specifies that the organization is considered the employer.

Malt Beverage – A beverage containing at least one-half of one (1) percent (0.5%) and not more than six (6) percent (6%) alcohol by volume

Nolo Contendere – A plea by which a defendant in a criminal prosecution accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but does not admit guilt

Sale of Alcohol – Any transfer, trade, exchange, or barter, in any manner or by any means for consideration, of alcohol (e.g., cover charges, mug/t-shirt sales, etc.)

Serious Bodily Injury – Injury which involves substantial risk of death, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ or mental faculty

Spirituous Liquor/Liquor – Distilled spirits or other alcohol and mixtures of cordials and premixed cocktails in closed containers for beverage use regardless of their dilution

Student – Any individuals, regardless of age, who are currently enrolled in Durham Tech courses, who have active program status, and/or who are currently participating in Durham Tech instructional programs, including Middle College High School, Career and College Promise, and College and Career Readiness programs. Individuals with active program status are those who have been accepted into a program, have taken classes within the program, and have been continuously enrolled at the College since beginning the program.

Unfortified Wine – Wine with an alcohol content of not more than seventeen (17) percent (17%)

Use of Alcoholic Beverages – Possession, consumption, distribution, purchase, sale, or transfer of alcoholic beverages

Working Days – Days the College is open and operating under a normal schedule. This excludes weekends, closings due to adverse conditions, and holidays.

Appendix A – Laws and Sanctions


United States Controlled Substances Act

Federal Trafficking Penalties

North Carolina

North Carolina Controlled Substances Act

Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages

Local Sanctions

There are no local drug or alcohol sanctions that supersede federal or state laws.

Appendix B – Health Risks and Treatment Programs

Health Risks

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use.

The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.

Learn more about specific health risks associated with commonly abused drugs by reviewing the information below and consulting the NIDA’s Commonly Abused Drugs Charts. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Drugs of Abuse guide is a comprehensive resource that outlines risks associated with specific classes of drugs (starting with page 38 of the 2017 edition).

Alcohol: This depressant slows down your heart, nervous system, and brain, and high doses of alcohol can cause you to stop breathing. Prolonged immoderate use can cause artery disease, heart failure, and liver damage including cancer, cirrhosis, and hepatitis. Women may develop alcohol-related health problems sooner than men, even when drinking less alcohol than men. Because alcohol affects nearly every organ in the body, long-term heavy drinking increases the risk for many serious health problems.

Amphetamines: These drugs cause acute psychoses and malnutrition. They also can make users nervous, hyperactive, and sleepless and can elevate pulse rate and blood pressure.

Anabolic Steroids: Steroids have side effects ranging from insomnia to death. Using them increases risk of cancer and cardiovascular, kidney, and liver disease. Users may exhibit aggressive, combative behavior, and use may cause impotence, sterility, or fetal damage.

Barbiturates: Both physiologically and psychologically addictive, these drugs can cause death in high doses. Infants born to barbiturate users may suffer congenital deformities. Other effects include nausea, dizziness, lethargy, allergic reactions, and possible breathing difficulties.

Cocaine: Anyone who uses cocaine – even a first-time user – may have seizures, heart fibrillation, and strokes that can result in death. Habitual users experience irritability, paranoia, and hallucinations. Use causes tumors, chronic fatigue, dangerous weight loss, sexual impotence, and insomnia and affects respiration, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

Ecstasy (MDMA): This drug produces both stimulant and psychedelic effects including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, and hyperactivity. Because users may experience feelings of increased confidence, sensitivity, arousal, and confusion, Ecstasy use makes them more vulnerable to crime, especially robbery, sexual assault, and other unwanted sexual encounters.

Heroin and Opium: An overdose of these psychologically and physiologically addictive drugs can cause death. Users feel sluggish and fall asleep at inappropriate and dangerous times. Intravenous users risk contracting Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other infections.

LSD: LSD causes hallucinations, perception distortions, and anxiety. Users cannot function normally and are accident- prone. LSD can also elevate body temperature and cause a rapid heartbeat.

Marijuana: Because it damages short-term memory and decreases concentration and learning abilities, marijuana is particularly detrimental to students. It contains more than four hundred (400) chemicals and has 2½ times as much tar as tobacco. Research shows that marijuana users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, and throat and lung cancer; tend to have more chest colds than non-users; and are at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Studies show that someone who smokes five (5) joints per day may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day. Effects also include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, and impaired motor skills and concentration.

MDMA (Ecstasy): This drug produces both stimulant and psychedelic effects including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, and hyperactivity. Because users may experience feelings of increased confidence, sensitivity, arousal, and confusion, Ecstasy use makes them more vulnerable to crime, especially robbery, sexual assault, and other unwanted sexual encounters.

Methamphetamines: Meth is a highly addictive drug that targets the functioning of the central nervous system. Short-term effects include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, hypothermia, irritability, paranoia, insomnia, confusion, tremors, and aggressiveness. Long-term health effects include irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, stroke, severe reduction in motor skills with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, impaired verbal learning, memory impairment, and decreased ability to regulate emotions. Many of the long-term effects persist after use of the drug is discontinued.

Oxycodone/Narcotics: These are safe and effective treatments for pain when prescribed by a doctor and used as directed. However, they are opioids, and therefore are psychologically and physiologically addictive. They can cause death by stopping breathing. Because of their medical uses, these drugs are frequently manufactured in a time-release (sustained-release, long-acting, extended-release) form. If users circumvent the time-release formulation, they may take a larger dose than intended, overdose, and suffer serious complications or death. Combining narcotics with alcohol or other drugs significantly increases the risk to life and well-being.

Psilocybin: This substance, found in certain mushrooms, causes hallucinations and perception distortions. Users cannot function normally and are accident-prone. This drug can also produce anxiety, elevated body temperature, rapid heartbeat, and elevated respiration.

Treatment Programs

According to the NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, more than three decades of scientific research show that treatment can help drug-addicted individuals stop drug use, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives. The guide details 13 fundamental principles that characterize effective drug abuse treatment, describes different types of science-based treatments, and provides answers to commonly asked questions.

Appendix C – Resources

Durham Tech Resources

Employees are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program offered by the College at no cost. 

Human Resources
White Building (Building 1), room 78, Main Campus
919-536-7244; humanresources@durhamtech.edu

Employees are also encouraged to use the North Carolina State Health Plan for various services.


Local, State, and National Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous

Al-Anon (group meetings for family members of substances abusers)

Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina

College Drinking: Changing the Culture

Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Prevention Network

Drug Free NC/Insight Human Services

Duke Health Addiction and Substance Abuse Program

Durham Center Access/Freedom House Recovery Center


Narcotics Anonymous

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

NIDA Drug Addiction Treatment

Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth

Smart Recovery


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The Recovery Village

TROSA Recovery Program

UNC Alcohol and Substance Abuse Outpatient Treatment Program