Policy on Drugs and Drug Testing


This policy outlines SUNY Downstate's policy as it relates to the use of drugs and drug testing.



Federal and State Laws and Regulations regarding alcohol and controlled substance abuse are identified in Appendix III of the Student Handbook. SUNY Downstate requires that all students comply with current Federal and New York State law regarding the use of substances in order to remain eligible for academic or clinical activities (even if they visit another locality, state or foreign country where such substances may be permitted). Students shall be responsible for assuring that they do not participate in activities or ingest substances when visiting other U.S. states or foreign countries which may cause them to be ineligible to participate in academic or clinical activities because these substances are not permitted by Federal Law, in New York State, or by policy of SUNY Downstate or our affiliated hospitals. Failure to do so is a violation of SUNY Downstate policy and is subject to disciplinary action.

Although the State of New York recently passed a law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in New York for those age 21 and older, the use and possession of marijuana on SUNY Downstate’s campuses remains prohibited under federal law and drug tests conducted under this policy will continue to test for the presence of marijuana. State University of New York campuses are bound by the federal requirements under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Under this requirement, the use, possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana remains prohibited on all SUNY campuses and subject to disciplinary action. This prohibition covers all SUNY property in public as well as campus residence halls, University apartments, and offices, University-owned and leased buildings, housing, parking lots and all SUNY events.

In addition to policies and procedures identified in Appendix II of the Student Handbook, the following policies will also be instituted when a student has a positive drug test (either from a clinical site or from a drug test that may have been voluntarily undertaken by the student e.g. such as in preparation for a clinical affiliation):

  1. The student will be notified by either the Dean for Student Affairs (or designee) or the Dean of their college/school (or designee) that a positive drug test report has been received. The student will be informed that he/she must take another drug test (within one week of our receipt of the drug test report) through Castle Branch, or another accepted vendor, at the student’s expense.
    How to obtain a test
  2. The student will be immediately suspended from his/her academic/clinical program until clearance (fitness for duty) has been obtained.
  3. If the second drug test is negative, then the student will be reinstated and warned that any subsequent positive drug tests will lead to possible disciplinary action and/or possible external reporting to the New York City Police Department.
  4. If the second drug test is positive or if the student declines to take a second drug test, then the student will be continued on suspension, will be reported to the appropriate academic standing or disciplinary committee for evaluation, and possible disciplinary action and/or reporting to the New York City Police Department.
  5. Resources can be found in Appendix II of the Student Handbook for students who violate state and federal regulations and/or college policies on alcohol or controlled substance abuse.

Approved by the Council of Deans. Last Modified: May 2021