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 will also refer the individual to the Office of Student Conduct, where the student could face sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University.

Did you know?

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, Litchfield Tower A, Litchfield Tower B, Bruce Hall, Forbes Hall, Sutherland Hall, Holland Hall, and Mark A. Nordenberg Hall.

Drug and Alcohol Education Programs

All incoming first-year students are required to participate in Campus Clarity—an online, science-based alcohol and other drug prevention and education program focusing on the impact of alcohol and other drugs on the mind and body. It takes students approximately two hours to complete and includes a 45-day follow-up.

Pitt complies with the federal Drug-free Workplace and Drug-free Schools Act. The University annually 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 and on the student affairs Web site.

The University’s Personal Education, Assistance, and Referral (PEAR) program and Marijuana 101 and 102 courses aim to reduce drug and alcohol abuse by:

  • Increasing awareness of the implications of alcohol or other drug use, and the role these substances play on the college campus
  • Increasing understanding of how the misuse of alcohol and other drug abuse can be detrimental to friendships, to a sense of personal worth and value, and to the general healthy functioning of the individual
  • Identifying and referring students who may be developing substance abuse problems to Pitt’s network of support
  • Challenging students to evaluate their use of, or involvement with, alcohol or other drugs and to learn responsible decision-making skills
  • Describing healthy lifestyle alternatives to substance abuse and encouraging students to adopt them

Students may decide to participate in the PEAR program voluntarily, or they may be referred as part of a disciplinary action. Completion of the program requires payment of a $50 fee, attendance at two 120-minute education sessions, and a final assessment interview with the instructor.

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 Abuse

Q  What are some other resources I can access for help with alcohol or substance abuse?
A  Pitt provides an office dedicated to wellness education for students. Anyone within the Pitt community is welcome to refer students or to call for educational services. For more information, contact the Office of Health Education and Promotion of the Student Health Service (SHS) at 412-383-1830  or visit SHS at Mark A. Nordenberg Hall, 119 University Place, Wellness Center, second floor.