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Alcohol and Other Drug Information from Jim Hoppe

The beginning of a new academic year is an exciting time.  You will be exposed to endless opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom and may also face situations that require you to make decisions that are new to you, specifically involving alcohol and other drugs.

You may choose to abstain or you may choose to drink. You may be over the age of 21 or you may be 17. You may have been in situations with alcohol or other drugs before Emerson or maybe not.  No matter your situation, when it comes to alcohol and other drugs, we want you to know the facts, your resources, and that we care about your safety and success above all.

Below is a list of links and information concerning our Alcohol and Other Drugs policy, as well as pertinent federal and state laws and a list of resources and support programs both on and off campus.

The Facts

In 2015, over 750 Emerson College students participated in the National College Health Assessment, a nationally recognized survey that collects data about students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions. The results of this survey showed that the PERCEPTION of Alcohol and other drug use does not match the REALITY.

  • Emerson students perceived 97% of their peers had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days but 77% reported having an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days.
  • Emerson students perceived 92% of their peers had used tobacco in the last 30 days but 15% reported using tobacco in the last 30 days.
  • Emerson students perceived 95% of their peers had used cannabis in the last 30 days but 36% reported having used cannabis in the last 30 days.

Perceptions are powerful and can influence our decisions. The facts tell us that not as many people drink or smoke as students thought. In fact, 13.2% of students have never had a drink, 68% have never used tobacco and 43% have never used cannabis ever.   

The Policy


Emerson is determined to establish and maintain working, living and learning conditions that are free from the negative effects of alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse. With this in mind, the College encourages responsible decision-making regarding the use of legal drugs (alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, etc.).  The unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit or prescription drugs or alcohol by any student or employee on Emerson College property or as part of or in connection with any College activity is prohibited. The following information is provided to Emerson students, faculty and staff for compliance with the U.S. Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.

Emerson’s Good Samaritan Policy  allows for an individual to come forward for help without fear of disciplinary action.  In addition, Emerson College provides a range of support services that can be accessed via the phone numbers and URL’s.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws governing controlled substances

Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws governing alcoholic beverages: Section 23434a34b34c

Federal laws governing the trafficking of controlled substances    

Your Resources

Emerson College recognizes that the misuse or abuse of any drug can be detrimental to the health, safety, learning, and well-being of individuals as well as the Emerson community. The College offers substance abuse prevention programs for its students and employees and will identify resources and provide assistance and support for those who have, develop or are in recovery from problems with AODs.

  1. Center for Health and Wellness617-824-8666
  2. Counseling and Psychological Services617-824-8595
  3. Healing and Advocacy Collective617-824-8857

We care about you. We care about your health, wellness, and safety. No matter your decisions, know that our college community is here to support and guide you so that you can be as productive and successful as possible. If you choose not to use alcohol or other drugs, know that we commend your choice and that you are not alone.  If you choose to use alcohol or other drugs, we hope that you do so responsibly and respectfully.

Lastly, if you or someone you know is experiencing negative effects from alcohol or other drug use, know we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out. At Emerson, we look out for one another to make sure nobody struggles alone. We listen to all concerns, from the smallest issues to larger challenges. If you are worried about anyone in the Emerson community, please report a concern so we can help support one another. We are in this together.

Let’s have a great year!


Jim Hoppe
Vice President & Dean for Campus Life | Emerson College
Walker 411H

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