Norwich To Strengthen Drug Prevention Programs

In the wake of last spring's steroid allegations, Norwich University is taking action to strengthen its drug and alcohol prevention and counseling, and plans to implement several drug-testing programs.

Norwich University's current policy bans students from using any controlled substance that has not been prescribed by a doctor. Norwich's student-athletes also must complete NCAA eligibility forms in which they ascertain that they have not used any substance on the NCAA's "banned substance" list. The NCAA list includes ingredients in many common "sports supplements" as well as anabolic steroids and street drugs. Norwich is also a dry campus, meaning that students are not permitted to possess or consume alcoholic beverages on campus with the exception of their attendance at a sanctioned University event.

Norwich University President Richard Schneider informed students and parents in a letter this summer that he has established a campus committee to develop a program for implementation later this year. The program will permit the University to drug-test any student under reasonable suspicion that the student may be using a banned substance and that random testing of varsity athletes will also begin this academic year.

"The use of drugs and alcohol by college students is not a new problem, nor one that is unique to Norwich," said Schneider. "However, one of Norwich University's guiding values stresses the value of being physically fit and drug free. I intend to do everything I can to help our students realize that value and live it. But to do that we need the help of everyone on campus, and our students' parents and guardians at home, to keep reinforcing this message."

Norwich's athletic department is in the process of refining a new varsity athlete drug testing policy that will be implemented during this fall sports season.

"I have directed that we begin random testing of athletes, so that we immediately remove any cloud of suspicion that may be hanging over our athletic programs, and I want to use testing as a deterrent to any student who might consider using banned substances in the future," said Schneider.

Other actions being taken by the University include forming a committee of faculty, staff, and students that will seek to provide educational forums for students regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. The University has begun advertising two new positions on campus; one is for a substance abuse counselor, and the other is for a wellness director who will also work with the drug and alcohol programs as well as fitness and strength programs.

The Department of Homeland Security notified members of the University administration last spring that there was an investigation into the potential use of illegal steroids by several students. No further details about that investigation are available to the University at this time.

aventi@norwich.edu, August 2003

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