Campus drug policies were evaluated according to several factors. Each school started with an average C grade. Positive policy aspects—clearly defined sanctions for specific violations, sanctions focusing on treatment and education, and medical amnesty or Good Samaritan policies—improve the school’s grade. Negative factors—zero tolerance policies, sanctions focusing on punishment, and reliance on referrals to law enforcement—warrant lower grades.


Medical Amnesty Policies:

A full medical amnesty policy is defined as one which protects both victims and callers for alcohol and drug related emergencies. A school’s grade only improves if its policy covers at least three of these four aspects. In addition, medical amnesty policies only count positively when they are explicitly stated. The grade of a school which typically does not apply punitive sanctions in emergency situations, but does not explicitly state these protections, will not improve.


FERPA and parental notification:

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools are permitted to contact a student’s parents or guardians without the student’s consent when he or she has violated laws or institution policies regarding the use of alcohol or drugs. As such, even if “parental notification” is not a listed sanction for a particular school, such notification is still possible. (


Federal funding, compliance with law, and drug policies:

In order to receive federal funding and comply with law, schools are required to state their compliance laws regarding drugs and alcohol. Many colleges also list the possible legal penalties for alcohol and drug violations. As these statements are required by law and/or required to receive funding, the statements are not interpreted to be relevant to the relative stringency of campus drug and alcohol policies.