Drugs and Alcohol Prevention Policy


This policy is relevant to members of Merryfield Academy including all students, faculty, staff and all visitors, contractors and guests to Merryfield facility and events. This policy complements other Merryfield related policies and regulations, including those pertaining to use of Alcoholic Beverages and Narcotics.

This policy is to edify and to prevent harm due to alcohol or illegal drug use. It’s intent is to promote the growth of student personal accountability by facilitating conditions or order and safety. Our Students are expected to act responsibly while enjoying the autonomy that comes with Merryfield’s School.


General Policy Statement

Merryfield Academy is devoted to providing an environment that is free of the abuse of and illegal use and possession of controlled substances. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in or on Merryfield Academy owned or controlled property or facilities or at Merryfield’s School sponsored events. No employee or student is to report to work, class, or any of Merryfield‘s activity while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. The possession and use of controlled drugs by members of Merryfield school community must at all times be in accordance with the provisions of federal and state law.Under Florida law, no person may possess substances regulated under the provisions of Chapter 893, Florida Statutes (controlled substances and “designer drugs”), unless dispensed and used pursuant to prescription or otherwise authorized by law. Sale and delivery of such substances are prohibited unless authorized by law.

Health Risks

The use of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription and other drugs pose a serious threat to health. The use of marijuana (cannabis) may cause impairment of short-term memory, comprehension, and ability to perform tasks requiring concentration. Marijuana use also may cause lung damage, paranoia, and possible psychosis. The use of narcotics, depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens may cause nervous system disorders and possible death as the result of an overdose. Illicit inhalants can cause liver damage. Additional risks associated with the use of drugs include impaired academic or work performance; lost potential; financial problems; poor concentration; blackouts; conflicts with supervisors, co-workers, friends and others; vandalism, theft and murder; sexual assault and other unplanned sexual relationships; spouse and child abuse; sexually transmitted diseases; and unusual or inappropriate risk taking which may result in physical or emotional injury or death.

Alcohol and health risks

Alcohol is a depressant drug that is absorbed into the bloodstream and transmitted to all parts of the body, most significantly affecting the brain. It is classified as a psychoactive drug because of its effects on the mind and the behavior.

The impact of alcohol varies among individuals, but even moderate doses reduce physical coordination and mental alertness, making certain activities dangerous. Larger doses of alcohol cause staggering, slurred speech and slowed reaction time. Even larger doses can cause mood swings, memory blackouts, unconsciousness and even death. Health risks involved with long-term heavy drinking include: addiction, liver damage, heart disease, circulatory problems, peptic ulcers, various forms of cancer and irreversible brain damage. High risk drinking also known as “binge drinking” is defined as an occasion in which the drinker consumes five or more drinks at one sitting. This behavior is a significant concern when one con-sider that alcohol overdoses is a medical emergency. Despite a national minimum drinking age of 21, alcohol remains the most widely used drug among American college students. As a result, alcohol abuse is a contributing factor in many campus problems. Recent national campus statistics published by the American College Health Association reveal that alcohol is involved in:

  • Approximately 66% of all violent behavior
  • Approximately 75% of all suicide attempts
  • Approximately 90% of all reported “date rape” incidents
  • Approximately 50% of all traffic fatalities in which victims were between 16-24 years of age

Approximately 30% of all academic difficulties

Students and employees can receive individual consultation sessions, assessment and counseling or be referred to community providers or agencies for assistance in dealing with drug abuse by calling the

2-1-1 Broward Assistance Help Line at 954-537-0211 or TDD 954-390-0942. The Broward Assistance Help Line is free and confidential to all students and Staff at Merryfield Academy.


Violations of the policies and laws described herein by an employee or student are grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with applicable to the schooland the Florida Board of Governors regulations and/or collective bargaining agreements. Such disciplinary actions also may include reprimand or suspension. Student organizations may also be sanctioned for violation of these policies and laws. Sanctions may range from written reprimand to revocation of recognition as a student organization. Additionally, a violation may be reason for evaluation and treatment of a drug-use disorder or referral for prosecution consistent with local, state, and federal criminal law. Disciplinary action by Merryfield Administrative board does not preclude the possibility of criminal charges against a student or employee. The filing of criminal charges similarly does not preclude action by the School. Employees, students, contractors or members of the public who exhibit behaviors consistent with drug-use disorder or who behave in any manner inconsistent with this policy may be denied access to Merryfield Academy events and shows.

Resources and Outreach Programs are listed below:


Alcoholics Anonymous954-967-6755 or 866-517-9997
Cocaine Hotline877-456-3313
AIDS Hotline800-352-2437
Suicide Hotline1-877-968-8454
Drug And Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers866-421-6242
Life Skills800-749-7149



1st conviction: Up to 1 year imprisonment and fined at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or both.

After 1 prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fined at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or both.

After 2 or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and fined at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000, or both.

Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory at least 5 years in prison, not to exceed 20 years and fined up to $250,000, or both, if:

(a) 1st conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams.

(b) 2nd crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceed 3 grams.

(c) 3rd or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 1 gram.

21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7)

Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1 year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions re: crack.)

21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4)

Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. 844a

Civil fine of up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations).

21 U.S.C. 853a

Florida Laws Regarding Alcohol and Drugs

The following information is taken from selected Florida statutes concerning alcohol and drug abuse.

FSS 562.11 (1) It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years to have in his/her possession an alcoholic beverage. The penalty for violating this section can include a period of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days and a fine of $500.

FSS 562.11 (2) It is unlawful for any person to misrepresent or misstate his age or the age of any other person for the purpose of inducing anyone to sell, give or serve any alcohol beverage to a person less than 21 years of age. The penalty for violating this section can include a period of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days and a fine of $500.

FSS 316.193 A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol if he/she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more. The penalty for the first offense can include six months’ imprisonment, impoundment of vehicle, $500 fine, one year of probation and suspension of driver’s license. The penalties for repeat violations and offenses involving vehicle accidents are considerably more severe.

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