Tobacco and Drug Policy

Tobacco-Free Campus

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recognizes the need to ensure an educational and work environment that is reasonably free from various health hazards. It is well established that the use of tobacco products is attributable to certain forms of health problems. In keeping with our core value of making our environment safer for everyone, the University has a comprehensive tobacco-free policy for all of our campus locations. Due to the nature landscape of the Prescott area, the campus has selected designated smoking areas for fire safety purposes.

This policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product whether in the form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, dipping/snuff, smokeless cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or chewing tobacco (including buildings, parking lots, personal vehicles, etc.), except for in designated areas on campus.

It is the policy of the University that tobacco products are only permitted in designated areas of University owned or leased property (including buildings, parking lots, personal vehicles, etc.). Additionally, tobacco products are prohibited in all University vehicles including vans, trucks, buses, and all University aircraft.

Any University employee or student who violates this policy shall be reminded that the use of tobacco products is only permitted in designated areas on campus. Any employee or student who continues to violate or disregard this policy is subject to appropriate disciplinary actions.

Any individual conducting business with the University, or engaged in contracted services, or any visitor to the University who violates this policy, shall be reminded that use of tobacco products are permitted only in designated areas on campus. Continued violations or disregard for this policy shall result in the individual being required to leave University property.

Student Education and Assistance

Embry-Riddle promotes substance abuse awareness by sponsoring educational programs and distributing literature. The University is committed to assisting students in the resolution of problems associated with substance abuse and encourages students to seek additional help through referrals from the Wellness Center and/or Counseling Services.

Student Drug and Alcohol Testing

The mandatory drug and alcohol testing program applies to all students who engage in flight training at the University. Success in the aviation industry requires a commitment to excel and the discipline to avoid unsafe practices. The use of illegal, synthetic or designer drugs constitutes an unsafe practice and is incompatible with an aviation environment. Therefore, the University reserves the right to immediately suspend or dismiss any student who uses or possesses illegal, synthetic or designer drugs. In the effort to maintain a work and educational environment that is safe for its employees and students, the University has established a mandatory student drug testing program. ERAU may test for alcohol and the following drugs, as outlined by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration regulations, to include but not limited to: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).


The drug testing program applies to all students who engage in flight training at the University. The University tests for drugs, alcohol and any other substance which may compromise safety as follows:

  1. Random testing of students engaged in flight training.
  2. Post-accident testing is required for any pilot or crewmember involved in a university aircraft incident or accident. The pilot or crewmember will be tested within 24 hours after the incident or accident. An accident is an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that results in any person suffering death or serious injury, or where the aircraft receives substantial damage as determined by the National Transportation Safety Board. The accident can occur at any point between the time a person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and the time all have disembarked. Incident means an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.
  3. Pre-employment testing will be required for any student who applies to work in a safety-sensitive student assistant position at the University.
  4. The University, in conjunction with judicial proceedings, may also require drug testing. Students will follow the guidelines outlined in the Student Handbook.
  5. In the event that drug testing is required, students who fail to comply with testing procedures, refuse to be tested, test positive, or have a negative-dilute result are subject to the following actions:
    1. Students who fail to comply with all University directives concerning the place of testing, the manner in which they are to arrive at the test site, and any other related matters are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the University.
    2. Students who refuse to be tested after being requested to do so by the University may be dismissed from the flight program and possibly the University.
    3. Students whose test results show positive for the use of an illegal, synthetic, designer or non-prescribed drug, as verified by a medical review officer, may be dismissed from the Flight program and possibly from the University.
    4. Negative-dilute results are grounds for an immediate retest. Students with consecutive negative-dilute test results may be suspended from the University.


The cost of drug testing is the responsibility of the University. Embry-Riddle has contracted with a professional testing service as the certified laboratory for the collection and analysis of test specimens. This testing service will adhere to all requirements for chain of custody, test reporting, and specimen retention in accordance with  DOT and FAA regulations.


Students applying to attend the residential campuses are notified of the drug testing requirement through various University publications. The drug testing policy is also explained in the flight operations manual.

Medical Marijuana

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Proposition 203) under certain circumstances, authorizes the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes by people with debilitating medical conditions who obtain a written certification from a physician. Because of the University’s obligations under federal law, marijuana, including medical marijuana, will continue to be banned on campus. Additionally, campus health care providers will not prescribe medical marijuana.

Under Federal legislation entitled The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, and The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, “no institution of higher education shall be eligible to receive funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, including participation in any federally funded or guaranteed student loan program, unless it has adopted and has implemented a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees.” Federal law entitled The Controlled Substances Act, prohibits the use, manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession of marijuana; it also classifies marijuana as a controlled substance and makes no exception for medical use. Proposition 203 does not change the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law; the University will therefore continue to enforce its current policies prohibiting the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance, including medical marijuana, on its property or as part of any of its activities.

In summary, despite popular misconception, Proposition 203 only made possession and use of medical marijuana legal under Arizona law. It did not generally legalize marijuana possession and use. Marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law; therefore, possession and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, regardless of whether a person has a medicinal marijuana card from another state, using marijuana recreationally in states where it is legal at the state level,   or is otherwise complying with Proposition 203. In order to remain eligible to receive federal grant funding and participate in federally funded student financial aid, the University must require that students, faculty, and staff do not possess or use marijuana on University owned or operated property or as part of any of its University sponsored activities. As a result, the possession or use of marijuana on campus, even in accordance with the exceptions granted by Proposition 203, is a violation of federal law and the University’s current policies and regulations. Employees and students who violate these policies will continue to be subject to disciplinary action.

Students who are required to live in University managed housing (typically, all newly enrolled students) and who possess a valid Arizona medicinal marijuana card, may receive an exemption to the first time ‘live-on’ requirement.