Human Resources
Policies and Procedures Manual

Departmental Responsibility: Office of Human Resources
Topic: Drug and Alcohol
Policy: Drug and Alcohol
October 07, 1990
Last Revised Date: November 09, 2011

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Clemson University recognizes that the illegal and/or abusive use of alcohol or drugs by members of the university community jeopardizes the safety of the individual and is not conducive to the academic learning process.  This policy is implemented in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and the South Carolina Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1990, to promote the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.  

I. Standards of Conduct

The illicit or unauthorized manufacture, use, possession, distribution or dispensation of alcohol or illegal drugs by employees on University property or as part of or during any University activity is prohibited.  Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs is also prohibited. This policy applies to all full-time and part-time permanent and temporary faculty, staff and student employees.  In addition, all faculty, staff and students who receive a federal grant/contract or a state grant/contract are required to abide by this policy as a condition of employment of the grant or contract.  

II. Disciplinary Sanctions

The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on employees who violate the above standards of conduct.  The severity of the imposed sanctions will be appropriate to the violation.  Among the disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed include but are not limited to one or more of the following:  oral reprimand, written reprimand, suspension, termination and/or referral for prosecution. The University may require completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program as part of a disciplinary sanction.

III. Procedures to Follow

Since almost every case of alcohol or drug abuse has different circumstances, supervisors should contact  Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources for direction in their efforts to assist faculty, staff and/or student employees in locating appropriate counseling for alcohol and/or drug related problems.  If a violation occurs that might lead to disciplinary action of a faculty member, the supervisor should contact the Provost’s Office.  If a violation occurs that might lead to disciplinary action of a classified employee, the supervisor should contact Employee Relations for advice in developing a recommendation for approval by the appropriate administrative officials.  It should be noted that South Carolina law (S.C. Code Sec. 8-11-110) treats alcoholism as an illness and requires state agencies to grant employees sick leave for the purpose of participating in public and private treatment and rehabilitation programs which have been approved by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

 IV. Counseling and Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Employees in need of treatment or counseling are encouraged to utilize the University's Employee Assistance Program, which includes a Drug-Free Awareness Program.  The goal of this program is to provide resources for individual employees and to help employees maintain or enhance productivity despite problems that may arise.  

Clemson University recognizes drug dependency as a major health problem.  Clemson University also recognizes drug and alcohol abuse as a potential health, safety and security problem.  The Drug-Free Awareness Program provides more detailed information to employees about the dangers of alcohol and/ or drug abuse in the workplace, the available drug counseling, rehabilitation and employee assistance information and the penalties that may be imposed for alcohol and/or drug abuse violations. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources at (864) 656-2000 or (864) 656-9403 or by visiting the Drug-Free Awareness Program website.

V. Drug Conviction Reporting Requirement

All University employees (including student employees) are required to report any conviction under a criminal drug statute for any violation occurring in the workplace or as part of any University activity. A conviction means a finding of guilt (including a plea of nolo contendere) or imposition of a sentence, or both, by any federal or state judicial body charged with such responsibility.  This report must be made within five (5) days of the conviction to the employee's supervisor and to the Chief Human Resource Officer or designee.  In the event that the convicted employee was employed in the performance of a federal contract or grant or a state contract or grant, the Chief Human Resource Officer or designee, shall immediately notify the Vice President of Research so that the sponsoring federal or state agency can be notified within ten (10) days of the date the University received notification as required by federal and state law. Within thirty (30) days after the University's receipt of a drug conviction report the appropriate supervisory authority will either take appropriate personnel action against the employee, consistent with federal and state law and regulations and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, or require the employee to participate successfully in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes

VI. Health Risks


Health risks of using drugs include both physical and psychological effects.  The health consequences of drugs depend on the frequency, duration, and the intensity of use.  For all substances, there is a risk of overdose.  Overdose can result in coma, convulsions, psychosis, or death.  Combinations of certain drugs can be lethal.  Continued use of a substance can lead to tolerance (requiring more and more of drug to get the same effect), dependence (physical or psychological need), or withdrawal (a painful, difficult and dangerous symptom when stopping the use of drugs).  Long-term chronic use of drugs can lead to malnutrition, damage to organs, and psychological problems.


Alcohol is a depressant.  Low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination needed to operate vehicles.  Small amounts can also lower inhibitions.  Moderate to high doses cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, loss of memory and the ability to learn and remember information.  High doses cause respiratory depression and death.  Long-term consumption, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to dependence and permanent damage to vital organs such as the liver and the brain.  If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce effects seen at higher doses.  Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy increase the risk of birth defects, miscarriage, and still birth.  In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at an increased risk of becoming alcoholics.  Use and abuse of alcohol may also lead to unsafe and/or nonconsensual sex, unwanted pregnancy, and may cause defects, injury or death in unborn children.

For more information on the health risks of drugs and alcohol, please refer to the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s website  and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS).

VII. Distribution and Review of Policy

A copy of the Employee Drug and Alcohol Policy is available via the Office of Human Resources website.  The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) or designee shall be responsible for overseeing all actions and programs relating to this policy.  The CHRO or his designee, along with Clemson University’s Office of General Counsel, shall conduct a biennial review of this policy and its implementation to determine its effectiveness, make necessary changes, and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

VIII. University Policy on Alcohol; i.e., Liquor, Beer and Wine  

The following is a statement of University policy on alcoholic liquor, beer and wine at University sponsored events and consumption of alcoholic liquor, beer and wine during normal working hours. Any serving or use of alcoholic liquor, beer or wine at University sponsored events or the consumption of alcoholic liquor, beer or wine during normal working hours other than as provided below is unauthorized.  This policy does not apply to any activity sponsored by Clemson University students.  The policy for those activities is stated in the Student Handbook.  Those having questions concerning rules or guidelines as stated in the Student Handbook should contact the Office of the Dean of Students.


  • State law permits the possession and consumption of beer and wine by individuals of legal age at private and public events, and
  • State law permits the giving of alcoholic liquor, beer or wine only to individuals of legal age, and
  • The minimum legal age for the possession and consumption of alcoholic liquor, beer and wine is 21, and
  • The Clemson University Facilities Use Policy also discusses the use of alcohol at Clemson University facilities by both on campus and off campus groups.

The following policy shall apply to all alcoholic liquor, beer and wine served at University sponsored events by University employees or groups:

A.        Alcoholic liquor, beer and wine may only be served to individuals 21 years of age or older at any University sponsored event regardless of the location.

B.        Alcoholic liquor, beer and wine may be served or available for consumption at University sponsored events subject to State laws and existing   guidelines:

C.        Employees must comply with the requirements of the Clemson University Facility Use Policy when serving alcohol at University sponsored events. 

D.        Notwithstanding the above, alcoholic liquor, beer and wine may not be served, consumed or available for consumption during normal University working hours (as assigned for each employee by the University) at any location on University property.  Exceptions may be granted only with the prior approval of both the vice president responsible for the event and the vice president responsible for the area in which the event is held.  Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action being taken against those employees responsible for the violation.

E.         For University sponsored events taking place off campus, employees must take steps to ensure that alcohol is only served to individuals 21 years of age or older.

IX. Federal and State Penalties and Sanctions   

Federal and State laws governing the possession, use, and distribution of alcohol and illegal drugs including penalties and sanctions are located below.










Purchase, consumption or possession of beer, wine or alcoholic liquors under the age of 21 

Fine of $100 - $200.

Imprisonment for not more than 30 days. Required completion of alcohol prevention program.



Lying or providing false information about age for purpose of purchasing beer,  wine or alcoholic liquors 

Fine of $100 - $200.

Imprisonment for not more than 30 days.

§ 61-4-60

Sale of alcohol to a minor

Fine of $200- $300 and/or imprisoned for not more than 30 days for 1st offense

Fine of $400-$500 and/or imprisoned not more than 30 days

Required completion of alcohol enforcement education program

§ 61-6-4080

§ 61-4-50

Open container of beer or wine in motor vehicle

Fine up to $100 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days.

§ 61-4-110

Purchase of beer or wine for underage person

Fine of $200 - $300 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for 1st offense.

Fine of $400-$500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for 2nd or subsequent offense.

§ 61-4-80

Transfer of beer or wine to underage person

Fine of $200 - $300 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for 1st offense.

Fine of $400 - $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for 2nd or subsequent offense.

§ 61-4-90

see also §61-6-4070

Altering and Fraudulent Use of Driver's License

Fine up to $200 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for 1st offense.

Fine up to $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months for 2nd or subsequent offense.

§ 56-1-510

Driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Fines and/or imprisonment may vary depending on number of offenses.  Also suspension of license and required completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety program pursuant to §56-5-2990.

§ 56-5-2930 

§ 56-5-2933

Felony Driving Under the Influence causing bodily harm or death to someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof 

Fine of $5,100 - $10,100 and mandatory imprisonment for 30 days - 15 years when great bodily injury results.

Fine of $10,100 - $25,100 and mandatory imprisonment for 1 to 25 years when death results.

§ 56-5-2945

Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor - It is against the law for any person over 18 years of age to knowingly and willfully influence a minor to violate a law or ordinance. 

Fine up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than 3 years.

§ 16-17-490

Public Disorderly Conduct


Fine up to $100 or imprisonment up to 30 days.

§ 16-17-530





Possession and Distribution of Controlled Substances (i.e., cocaine, crack, marijuana, etc.)

Penalty varies depending on circumstances of arrest, the drug type and the amount.

§ 44-53-370

Distribution of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School

Penalty varies depending on circumstances and drug. Fines up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

§ 44-53-445

Possession or Sale of Drug Paraphernalia

Fine up to $500 for individual.

Fine up to $50,000 for corporation.

§ 44-53-391




FEDERAL LAW - Summary of federal laws related to illicit drugs:

Federal law prohibits the possession and distribution of illegal drugs.  The severity of sanction imposed depends on the type and quantity of drugs, prior convictions, and whether death or serious injury occurred.  Penalties can be increased for offenses which involve distribution to minors.  Federal laws require or permit forfeiture of personal or real property used to illegally possess, facilitate possession, transport or conceal a controlled substance.  A person's ability to purchase a firearm or receive federal benefits such as student loans, grants, contracts or professional or commercial licenses may be revoked or denied as a result of drug conviction.


For more detailed information about federal drug possession and trafficking penalties, see Federal Trafficking Penalties.

Departments employing personnel without direct access to the University website are responsible for posting sanctions associated with the Clemson University Drug and Alcohol Policy in a central location.  Similarly, it is the responsibility of the department to provide a written copy of the previously mentioned sanctions to departmental personnel upon request.

Please be aware that this policy does not negate the Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing Policy implemented in accordance with the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act for employees with CDL license or in safety sensitive positions as defined by the Act.