The online version of the Student Handbook is currently undergoing revisions. For the latest version of the college handbook, please see the Rhodes College Student Handbook PDF (updated November 2022).

Drug Policy

Rhodes College will not tolerate the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illegal drugs or the misuse of over the counter or lawfully prescribed medications on the Rhodes campus. Such activity is a threat to the personal safety of the people who work and live on the campus, and a threat to the reputation and mission of the College. Such conduct:

  1. Violates the law
  2. Compromises the physical and mental health of those involved
  3. Threatens the fabric of the community by introducing unlawful elements

The students, faculty, and staff of Rhodes are responsible for knowing and complying with all applicable state and local laws that make it a crime to possess, sell, deliver or manufacture those drugs considered to be “controlled substances,” and therefore illegal, by the state of Tennessee. Any member of the Rhodes community who violates the law is subject to both prosecution and punishment by law enforcement authorities and to disciplinary proceedings by the College.

Students at Rhodes are subject to disciplinary action for the possession, manufacture, use, sale, or distribution (by either sale or gift) of any quantity of any prescription drug or illegal drug or for being under the influence of any prescription drug or illegal drug, except for the appropriate use of an over-the-counter medication or for the prescribed use of medication in accordance with the instructions of a licensed physician. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, cocaine derivatives, heroin, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, PCP, and substances typically known as “designer drugs” such as “ecstasy” or “eve.” Possession of paraphernalia associated with the use, possession or manufacture of illegal drugs is also prohibited. Students are also subject to disciplinary action for the misuse or abuse of mind-altering substances other than illegal drugs, such as Amyl Nitrate, Ephedrine, volatile solvents, aerosols, Nitrous Oxide, and similar substances.

Student Sanctions

The sanctions to be imposed by the College may range from probation to suspension or expulsion from one’s place of residence or to expulsion from enrollment. However, the following are the minimum sanctions that will be imposed by the College for a violation of this policy.

The minimum sanction for a first-time drug paraphernalia violation is a requirement to participate in a drug education program and disciplinary probation for six months, which places a student in not good standing with the college. The penalty for any student who violates the policy for drug paraphernalia for a second time will be deferred suspension or suspension from the College for at least one semester.

The minimum sanction for a first-time violation of the Drug Policy for misuse or abuse of illegal drugs or the illegal use or possession of a prescription drug is disciplinary probation for a full year, a fine,  and a requirement for participation in a drug abuse education and/or treatment program. Parental notification is also likely. Any student who violates the Drug Policy for misuse or abuse of illegal drugs or illegal use or possession of a prescription drug for a second time will be suspended from the College for at least one year.

Shared Responsibility Statement: Students who are found to be present in an environment where illegal drug use or drug paraphernalia is present will be held responsible for a “Shared Responsibility Drug” violation. This violation will result in a warning and drug education.

The minimum penalty for sale, manufacture for sale or distribution of illegal drugs, mind-altering substances or prescription drugs is expulsion from the College.

Summary of State Law Concerning Drugs

The following summary of the Tennessee Code Annotated is provided to promote increased awareness of the Tennessee laws concerning controlled substances. This summary is not intended to be a restatement of the law nor a summary of all of the laws relating to controlled substances. All members of the Rhodes community are responsible for compliance with laws concerning controlled substances.

It is a criminal offense to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell controlled substances. The State of Tennessee defines seven categories of controlled substances. Depending upon the type and quantity of substance, felony penalties include fines ranging from $3,000 to $50,000 and imprisonment for not less than one year to not more than 60 years.

For misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, the penalty is imprisonment of not more than 11 months and 29 days and a $2,500 fine.

The term “drug paraphernalia” means any equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are primarily used, intended for use, or designed for use by the person in possession of them, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled substance. (T.C.A. 39-17-425)
The maximum penalty for unlicensed possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor with imprisonment up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The maximum penalty for the unlicensed possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture a controlled substance is a Class E felony with imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than six years, or a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

Denial of Federal Aid (20 USC 1091)

Under the Higher Education Act of 1998, students convicted under federal or state law for the sale or possession of drugs will have their federal financial aid eligibility suspended. This includes all federal grants, loans, federal work study programs, and more. Students convicted of drug possession will be ineligible for one year from the date of the conviction of the first offense, two years for the second offense, and indefinitely for the third offense. Students convicted of selling drugs will be ineligible for two years from the date of the first conviction, and indefinitely for the second offense. Those who lose eligibility can regain eligibility by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program.

Health Risks

People who abuse alcohol or drugs risk damage to both their mental and physical health.  The following information includes some health risks associated with misuse of alcohol and drugs.

  • Alcohol. Alcohol consumption causes a number of changes in behavior and physiology. Even low doses significantly impair judgment, coordination, and abstract mental functioning. Statistics show that alcohol use is involved in a majority of violent behaviors on college campuses, including acquaintance rape, vandalism, fights, and incidents of drinking and driving. Continued abuse may lead to dependency, which often causes permanent damage to vital organs and deterioration of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish). The use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce coordination and energy level. Users often have a lowered immune system and an increased risk of lung cancer. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is stored in the fatty tissues of the brain and reproductive system for a minimum of 28 to 30 days.
  • Hallucinogens. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even when use has ceased. Phencyclidine (PCP) affects the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries.
  • Cocaine/Crack. Cocaine users often have a stuffy, runny nose and may have a perforated nasal septum. The immediate effects of cocaine use include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature, followed by depression. Crack, or freebase rock cocaine, is extremely addictive and can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, convulsions, and even death.
  • Amphetamines. Amphetamines can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, collapse, and death. Heavy users are prone to irrational acts. 
  • Heroin. Heroin is an opiate drug that causes the body to have diminished pain reactions. The use of heroin can result in coma or death due to a reduction in heart rate.

Confidential Drug and Alcohol Resources and Clinical Services

Counseling Center and Health Services
Moore Moore Health Services

Lakeside Behavioral Health System
2911 Brunswick Rd, Memphis, TN 38133

Memphis Alcohol and Drug Council/NCA, Inc.
1430 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38104

Memphis Area Intergroup Association (Alcoholics Anonymous)3540 Summer Avenue, Suite 104, Memphis, TN 38122
8 901-454-1414 (24 Hour Helpline)

Methodist Health Care/Lamar Campus/Addictions Services
Methodist Central
1265 Union Ave., Suite 105 Sherard, Memphis, TN 38104

Mid-Town Mental Health Center
427 Dr. ML King Jr Ave, Memphis, TN 38126
901-577-0200, ext. 370

Charter Parkwood Hospital
8135 Goodman Rd., Olive Branch, MS 38654

Southeast Mental Health Winchester Center (Alliance Healthcare Services)
3810 Winchester, Memphis, TN 38118

Veterans Administration Medical Center – Alcohol and Drug Unit
(for veterans and families only)
1030 Jefferson Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
901-532-8990, ext. 5706

Other Helpful Numbers

Rhodes College Campus Safety


Southern Poison Center


Crisis Center Hotline


Emergency Medical Services


Narcotics Anonymous




Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)


Alcohol and Drug Help Line


LINC (Library Information Center)