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Policies on Alcohol and Drugs

Enforcement of State, Local, and Federal Laws 

The University of Pittsburgh enforces all state and local laws regarding the possession, use, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, including those prohibiting underage drinking, and local laws prohibiting an open container of alcohol in public. The University also enforces all state and federal laws concerning illegal drugs. Anyone who is apprehended by the Pitt Police in possession of, using, or selling illegal drugs is subject to arrest. If a University student commits the offense, the Pitt Police may also refer the individual to the Office of Student Conduct, where the student could face sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University.

Here are some ways the University upholds legal requirements concerning alcohol use:

  • Pitt restricts the use of alcohol at events involving groups within the University community.

  • In the residence halls, only residents of the building who are 21 years old or older may bring in alcoholic beverages. There are strict limits on the amount of alcohol these residents may bring into their assigned room.

  • Pitt offers alcohol-free residence halls, including Amos Hall, Brackenridge Hall, Litchfield Tower A, Litchfield Tower B, Bruce Hall, Forbes Hall, Sutherland Hall, Holland Hall, and Mark A. Nordenberg Hall.

University Policies Regarding Alcohol and Drug Use

To implement its commitment to provide a drug-free environment for its students, faculty, and staff, the University of Pittsburgh prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance on University property or as part of any University activity. Pitt complies with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act (DFSCA). In compliance with the DFSCA, the University distributes an annual notification containing information regarding local, state, and federal laws, as well as University policies related to the possession, use, and/or sale of alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs. This notice also includes information about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and available alcohol and drug counseling, rehabilitation and assistance available to students, staff and faculty. The full Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act annual notifications can be found online. The student version is posted on the Office of Student Conduct webpage. The employee version is posted on the Human Resources webpage. The University also distributes information about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and available alcohol and drug counseling, rehabilitation, and assistance to all students, faculty, and staff through mailings, electronic newsletters, social media, and videos.

Drug and Alcohol Education Programs

All incoming students are required to complete EverFi health education modules including AlcoholEdu—an online prevention and education program. AlcoholEdu seeks to empower students by providing information to help navigate issues that college students may face including alcohol safety and responsible decision-making. For more information on this program, please visit

The University also offers several education programs for students through The Office of Health Education and Promotion including the PEAR (Personal Education, Assistance and Referral) 1 and 2 programs and Marijuana 101 and 102. These courses seek to

  • increase awareness of the implications of alcohol or other drug use and the role these substances play on the college campus,

  • increase understanding of how the misuse of alcohol and other drug use can impact a student, including possible impacts on their health, relationships, and academics;

  • help to identify and refer students who may be struggling with substance use to resources and assistance, and

  • challenge students to evaluate their use of, or involvement with, alcohol or other drugs and to learn responsible decision-making skills.

These programs may be sanctioned by Office of Student Conduct as part of disciplinary action. However, students also can complete these programs voluntarily.

Read more about PEAR 1 and PEAR 2 »

Read more about Marijuana 101 and Marijuana 102 »

Students also can call the Office of Health Education and Promotion at 412-383-1830.

Additionally, Pitt also offers a free cessation counseling service for students who wish to quit the use of tobacco or other nicotine products (including e-cigarettes). For more information, call the Office of Health Education and Promotion at 412-383-1830.

Medical Amnesty

The University of Pittsburgh’s primary concern is for the health, safety, and well-being of students. All students are expected to seek immediate assistance for themselves or others in situations where someone is experiencing an emergency due to alcohol or other drug use. In situations where emergency assistance is requested, Medical Amnesty may apply. To read more about Medical Amnesty, please review the Student Code of Conduct.

Assistance with Alcohol or Substance Use

Q  What are some other resources I can access for help with alcohol or substance use?
A  The Wellness Center at the University of Pittsburgh offers several programs and services for students who may wish to address alcohol and other substance use. Services include education, recovery support, treatment, and counseling services. Services can be found through:

The Office of Health Education and Promotion: 412-383-1800
The Collegiate Recovery Program: 412-383-1800
Student Health Services: 412-383-1800
The Counseling Center: 412-648-7930

For more information, please contact the Wellness Center by phone at 412-383-1830. NOTE: To ensure the health and safety of staff and students, all appointments must be scheduled ahead of time. During the pandemic, walk-in appointments are not available.

Staff and Faculty may contact Life Solutions for assistance. Learn more regarding Life Solutions and the services they provide.