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Drug and Alcohol Policies

It is the policy of PCOM to maintain an environment that is free of substance abuse by students, faculty and employees.

The policy includes the following:

  • Prohibition against unlawful presence of controlled substances on campus.
  • Prohibition against the unauthorized presence of alcoholic beverages on campus.
  • Prohibition against being under the influence of any controlled substance at off-campus classes, seminars or off-campus clerkships or internships.

When a student is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that student will be reported to Student Affairs and appropriate actions will be taken. This may include referral to counseling support programs, suspension or termination of enrollment at PCOM.

Support Available

Graduate and professional education can be a time of great stress. A student may be unable to successfully adapt to these stresses and engage in potentially harmful coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drug abuse. The College policy on drug and alcohol abuse represents the intent of the College to enable students to resolve substance abuse problems by requesting and receiving compassionate, confidential professional assistance.

In an effort to help our students and to protect patients and others from the harm that an impaired student may cause, PCOM's goals include:

  • Providing effective and compassionate assistance to the impaired student before irreversible harm is done to his/her health, educational process, eligibility for licensure, or ability to function competently upon graduation.
  • Providing a means by which the impaired student may request and receive confidential professional assistance without stigma or penalty, and thereby encourage self-reporting
    and personal responsibility.
  • Enabling the impaired student to confront his/her problem and, where feasible, receive effective therapy with minimal disruption of the student's education.
  • Establishing a process that focuses on counseling and therapy as a front-line approach before disciplinary action is necessary.

Seeking Help

Students at the Philadelphia campus concerned about their own potential substance abuse should contact the Office of Student Affairs.

Students on the Georgia campuses concerned about their own potential substance abuse should contact the campus Student Affairs Office or the Talbot Recovery Center at 800-445-4232 or 770-994-0185.

Reports by Concerned Individuals

If a student suspects impairment of another student, Philadelphia campus students should seek guidance from Student Affairs. Students on the Georgia campuses should seek guidance from the campus Student Affairs office.

General Detection of the Impaired Student

At the discretion of the Provost, a student may be required to submit to psychological assessment and/or a urine and/or blood screening to detect alcohol abuse or the presence of illegal drugs based on reasonable suspicion of impairment. Medical professionals will perform such assessments and toxicology tests, with reports sent in confidence to the Provost at no cost to the student.

If such screening measures detect impairment, the Provost may remand the matter to the Student Professional Conduct Committee. Students who have declined an assessment and/or recovery plan will automatically be remanded to the Student Professional Conduct Committee for dismissal proceedings.

In accordance with the College disciplinary policy, any student found guilty of the use, sale or distribution of illegal drugs, either on-campus or off-campus will be subject to permanent termination of enrollment.

Legal Sanctions

PCOM is in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local drug and alcohol laws, and vehicle codes. Any student convicted of a drug-related offense will be suspended which includes immediate termination of all forms of financial aid.

All students should be aware of the legal sanctions under state, local, and federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of prescription or illicit drugs and alcohol, as well as the health risks associated with abuse of controlled substances or alcohol.

Drug Conviction and Financial Aid Eligibility

A question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form asks if the student has ever been convicted of a drug related offense. Failure to answer this question will automatically disqualify the student from receiving federal aid. Falsely answering this question, if discovered, could result in fines up to $20,000, imprisonment, or both.

Under the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs while receiving Title IV federal financial aid. Federal aid includes Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal ACG Grants, Federal SMART Grants, Federal TEACH Grants, Federal Work Study, and Perkins Loans.

Federal Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Convictions

The following financial aid penalties apply to those convicted of the possession or sale of illegal drugs:

Possession of Illegal Drugs
  • First offense: One year ineligibility from the date of conviction
  • Second offense: Two years ineligibility from the date of conviction
  • Third and subsequent offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Sale of Illegal Drugs
  • First offense: Two years ineligibility from the date of conviction
  • Second and subsequent offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Convictions During Enrollment

According to the United States Department of Education, if a student is convicted of a drug offense after receiving Federal aid, he or she must notify the Financial Aid Department immediately and that student will be ineligible for further aid and required to pay back all aid received after the conviction.

Regaining Eligibility

A student can regain eligibility for federal student aid funds by successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program. To be sufficient to reinstate financial aid eligibility, the program must: include at least two unannounced drug tests AND be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program. A student will regain eligibility on the date of successfully completing the program.

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