Drug Policy

HCU has a prime concern for the psychological and medical well being of its students and employees and recognizes the problems created by the misuse of controlled substances. The University prohibits the possession, distribution, sale or use of controlled substances and all other drugs prohibited by state and federal law (i.e. marijuana, narcotics, barbiturates, hallucinogens or amphetamines). The University also prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia (i.e. bongs, one hitters, pipes, clips, etc.).

Students who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action by the University and/or criminal prosecution under State and Federal law.

Sale – When, in the opinion of the Vice President for Student Life/Director of Residential Life, there is sufficient and credible information that a student is or has been trafficking in controlled drugs, the student will be asked to withdraw from the University. A student who chooses not to withdraw will be temporarily suspended by the Vice President for Student Life/Director of Residential Life (further action as described in the Student Handbook).

Use – Students are urged to seek help for themselves or on the behalf of others in any matter of drug use; if, in the judgment of the Vice President for Student Life/Director of Residential Life, the welfare of the HCU campus community requires that the student receive help either on or off campus, he or she may be required to do so as a disciplinary sanction at his or her expense. (See below).

Culpability – As it is difficult to accurately determine degrees of culpability, all students present in a room or area at the time of the drug violation will generally be held responsible for such violation. Students are advised in advance to avoid such situations which may put them at risk of disciplinary action.

The Law

Possession, manufacture, sale, and distribution of controlled substances are illegal under both state and federal law. Giving marijuana or other drugs free of charge to friends has been interpreted in some court cases to be the same as sale or distribution. There are generally more severe sanctions given for repeat offenders. Possession of drugs in large amounts may be viewed by the courts as possession with the intent to sell.


  • A drug offense under Texas or Federal Law can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the charge and the amount of drugs involved. In either case, a criminal record will very likely hamper a person’s chances of gaining admission to another school or securing future employment.
  • Court imposed penalties for a first offense for possession, distribution, or use of drugs depend upon the circumstances of the case.
  • Texas has some of the harshest penalties for drug possession. Possession of marijuana may be classified as light as a “Class B” misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of no more than $10,000 for possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. This penalty can go all the way up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 for possession of over 2,000 pounds of marijuana.
    As for drugs in other classes, the penalty for possession is at the very least a “Class B” misdemeanor, or a “Class A” misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of no more than $4,000, depending on the type of drug at issue. Depending on the amount of the illicit drug in the defendant’s possession, the penalty can range from a third degree felony all the way up to a first degree felony. The highest penalty given in Texas for drug possession is life or 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • HCU sanctions will be issued by the appropriate Disciplinary Body. These sanctions, which also may be combined, include: (1) expulsion from the University; (2) suspension from the University; (3) eviction from Residence Colleges; (4) required evaluation/counseling; (5) disciplinary Probation; (6) fines $50 to $250; and (7) educational projects.
  • Federal Government guidelines state that anyone receiving Federal Financial Aid (Pell Grants) who is convicted of violating established Federal or State controlled substance laws may lose his or her financial aid.

Health Risks

A. Cocaine and Crack:

Cocaine (especially in “crack form”) is one of the most addictive drugs. Crack addiction can become apparent within a matter of weeks. Some crack users have reported becoming addicted after their first use. Cocaine can be extremely harmful to the hearing and can cause death. It also has been linked to birth defects. A person coming down from a cocaine high often experiences feelings of paranoia, irritability and extreme depression. To compensate for these feelings, the user will often drink large amounts of alcohol.

B. Hallucinogens:

  • With LSD, there is the risk of flashbacks or repeat experiences of the LSD trip without taking the drug. Effects on the user’s body can include high blood pressure, faster heartbeat, weakness, vomiting, trembling, hyper- ventilation, and slowing down of motor functions. A “bad trip” on hallucinogens (LSD) can consist of loss of boundaries, paranoid feelings, extreme anxiety, panic, and in extreme cases, a psychotic reaction.
  • Psilocybin (Mushrooms). There are a number of plants which have LSD-like effects which come under this category, These plants are generally dried and then eaten. Mescaline, also considered a “mushroom,” comes from the top of the peyote cactus.

Psilocybin can cause dizziness, light headedness, upset stomach, vomiting, shivering, facial flushing, sweating and fatigue. With mescaline, nausea and vomiting usually occur; large doses may produce low blood pressure, cardiac depression, shallowness of breath, and headache.

C. Marijuana (Cannabis):

Marijuana impairs the user’s ability to perform motor tasks such as driving a car. It impairs short-term memory and logical thinking and has also been linked to birth defects. Large doses can lead to symptoms similar to those of hallucinogens. The user may experience confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, or psychotic episodes. Heavy users may experience problems with sequencing ability in the brain and loss of time sense, depth perception, memory storage, and recall. Long-term use has been associated with low sperm count in males and irregularities in menstruation and ovulation in females.

D. Amphetamines (Stimulants):

Amphetamines can cause increased alertness, euphoria, increased blood pressure, and insomnia. In cases of overdose, agitation, increase of body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and in some cases death may occur. A person experiencing withdrawal or “coming down” will likely be apathetic, irritable, depressed, and disoriented. Long periods of sleep are also part of amphetamine withdrawal.

E. Narcotics:

Some of the more common narcotics include opium, morphine, heroin, and methadone. Narcotics may cause euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, and nausea. In cases of overdose, the person may experience slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, coma, and possibly death. Someone experiencing withdrawal or “coming down” may demonstrate watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills, and sweating.

F. Depressants:

Depressants include chloral hydrate, barbiturates, benzoate, zephines, and equanil. Depressants may cause slurred speech, disorientation, and/or drunken behavior without odor of alcohol. In cases of overdose, a person may experience shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, and possibly death. Someone experiencing withdrawal or “coming down” may demonstrate anxiety, insomnia, tremors, delirium, insomnia, tremors, delirium, convulsions, and possibly death.

Drug Counseling

If students of HCU feel they may have a drug problem, they are encouraged to contact Student Health Services. The Nurse will be able to provide confidential information and testing, or assist in making a referral to a local agency or treatment facility.

Drug Free Campus. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101226) required our institution to sign a certification to the United States Department of Education by October 1, 1990, whereby we adopted and implemented a program to prevent the illicit use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance or other mind-altering substance (as defined in the Texas Controlled Substances Act and the Texas Dangerous Drug Act) is prohibited by the University. A student who violates this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action by the University.