Substance Abuse Policies on Campus

Logan Elie '24, Contributor

What happens to students who need help and are struggling with substance addiction? The Loomis Chaffee community enforces rules surrounding substance abuse with the mission of prioritizing student safety and promoting a culture of rehabilitation.
Due to the inevitability of substance abuse rules being broken, the Sanctuary Policy and Dependency Policy, defined in the student handbook, are two established rules that Loomis uses to address substance use on campus.
“The sanctuary policy is for students who are under the influence of a substance, and their physical well-being is at risk,” Ms. Julie Field, Director of Counseling Department, said.
Not only can students claim sanctuary for themselves, but they can also use it for their peers.
“A student can call [sanctuary] for another student if they think their friend needs help but doesn’t want them to be in trouble,” Dean Donegan said.
The Dependency Policy is different in that students who are struggling with substance abuse can have support to improve their health.
Nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol are classified as a level two disciplinary action in the student handbook, and that does not seem to be changing any time soon.
“Even if something is allowed in the real world, it doesn’t mean we would allow it here,” Dean Donegan said.
Even with the recent legalization of marijuana, users need to be 21 or older, making it illegal for students under that age on campus.
Overall, substance abuse has decreased in the past few years.
“I don’t think we have seen an increase [in drugs]. I think [substance abuse] has been more stable than last year. We get a big instance of kids who drink and are here for intoxication more than for drugs,” Nurse Peterson said.
Loomis prioritizes mental health above all, which is why there is a significant emphasis on safe recovery and the opportunity for therapy for students.
“The culture of rehabilitation is built into everything we do. Our main focus is your overall well-being, your academics, and having a good experience in your short amount of time with us. It’s not a policy but a said culture to support students,” Dean Donegan said.