Substance Abuse

Policy Overview

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from substance abuse, and its primary concern related to substance abuse among students is prevention and treatment. The institution provides educational programs to inform its community about the physical and psychological problems associated with substance abuse, as well as pertinent state and federal laws. MD Anderson recognizes that substance abuse is a treatable condition and, as an institution dedicated to health, facilitates the treatment and rehabilitation of this condition.

MD Anderson encourages impaired students, residents and fellows to seek help voluntarily and to assume responsibility for their professional and personal conduct. A student suspected of being under the influence may be removed from the classroom or clinical setting and referred for laboratory testing for the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol in the body. In cases in which a student causes harm to or endangers the safety of himself or herself or others, the student will be subject to disciplinary action. (Safe & Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, 20 U.S.C. Chapter 70, Sections 7101-7165).

The following are prohibited:

  • The purchase, manufacture, distribution, possession, sale, storage or use of an illegal drug or controlled substance while on the premises or property owned or controlled by the university or in vehicles used for university business.

  • Use of alcohol, an illegal drug or a controlled substance that occurs while not on university property or in university vehicles, but that adversely affects the safety of other students, employees, visitors or patients. This includes the use of alcohol at authorized official university functions or at an authorized university site that may adversely affect the safety of any other person.

  • Use of prescription or over-the-counter medications without heed to warnings about impact on performance or safety.

  • Distribution to others of drugs or controlled substances obtained pursuant to a prescription, except by a duly licensed and certified person, while in or on premises or property owned or controlled by the university.

  • Arrival to class or the clinical setting under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

  • Arrival to class or work under the influence of legal drugs to the extent that there is an adverse affect on the student's ability to perform.

Failure to comply with this policy by any student will constitute grounds for disciplinary action.

Any student who is convicted under a criminal statute for a drug-related offense is required to notify the dean and program officer or appropriate representative not later than five days after such conviction.


The following are the sanctions for students convicted of substance-abuse-related crimes:

  • Any student convicted of illegal use, possession and/or sale of a drug or narcotic on campus shall be dismissed.

  • A felony conviction of a violation of any criminal drug statute for use, possession, dispersion, distribution or manufacture of an illegal drug on MD Anderson premises will result in expulsion.