Authors

Jessica Fleet

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The rising numbers of substance consumption on college campuses are becoming a public concern for higher educational institutions across the United States. The thesis studies the relationship between state laws and private higher education institution laws in regards to substance abuse. Examining state laws and private universities Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan laws were used to determine what would effectively replace Bryant University’s current Substance Abuse Policy. The current policy lacks an educational element along with stressing the word of mouth ideology that students are protected when in need of drug or alcohol assistance in a medical situation. This is problematic because if a student has not needed medical attention and were not told about the policy, they would not be aware about it. Without a written document that students can turn to, they may not understand the policy or know that there are protections. A literature review was conducted to better understand how a bottom-up campaign or grassroots campaign can better produce an effective policy at a university along with seeing the role psychological ideologies like the social normative behavior theory, self-discrepancy theory, modeling theory, self-consciousness theory and self-monitor theory are used to explain how students create a culture or norm. Despite limited published research on my topic, I was able to analyze five cases that pointed to the importance of adding a Good Samaritan policy to an institutions current alcohol and drug policy. An exploratory study was conducted to determine if the current policy is failing in the eyes of administration and the students. Research conducted with the Student for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) concluded that, the addition of a Good Samaritan clause in a current alcohol and drug policy, backed by an educational platform, will provide students with accurate, informative information allowing students to understand safe substance use and not make decisions based on university consequences and fear. Then, 337 private schools were examined and evaluated to determine what key attributes created an effective policy. The research concluded that an effective Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy at a private institution was written and widely publicized; covered the caller, victim and organization; covered both alcohol and drug medical emergencies; and provided educational, not disciplinary sanctions to prevent the student from further having to request the policy. Ultimately the project adopts an in-depth approach to a student-run, bottom-up campaign regarding substance use on Bryant University’s campus. Demanding that the inclusion of a Good Samaritan Policy within Bryant University’s current Alcohol and Drugs Policy is the answer.