As students endeavor their first college semester parents worry if they will be able to handle the sudden rush of independence and responsibility. It is not uncommon for parents to give their new college students a small handful of prescription medication to ease the adjustment into college life. Although it may seem harmless, giving your student medication without prescription can be a ticket to losing their future college career.
Take this example: a mother sees her son is nervous, hurriedly packing clothes before he heads to the University of Minnesota. She sits down to tell him that he will do great. “I’m so nervous,” he tells her.
The last thing she wants is for him to be so anxious that he cannot sleep or do his homework. She reaches into her purse and gives him a couple Valium. Just a few will help calm his nerves and ease him to sleep for the first few nights in the dorm.
This mother does not know that she just gave her son an opportunity for fines and jail time. Anyone found with medications requiring a prescription without proper documentation is subject to possession of prescription drug penalties.
Drug convictions have major repercussions for students
Valium is a schedule IV drug; also in this group are other medications such as Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, etc. If a student is found with any of these medications without a prescription they can get up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines in Minnesota.
Not only can students face possible prison and fines, they can wave goodbye to their federal student aid. Anyone with a drug conviction can have their federal student aid suspended. This can include anyone charged with possession of even a small amount of prescription drugs. For families who rely on federal student aid this can be a life altering moment.
Furthermore students can face penalties from the school themselves. All colleges have strict drug policies and have the right to discipline the student according to their code conduct. Penalties can include academic probation, privilege restriction, housing expulsion, and even the withholding of their diploma.
With the stakes so high it is important to keep prescription medications for personal use and inform students of the importance to stay away from drugs on campus. If you or your child has been charged with the possession of a prescription drug, contact an attorney right away. It is possible to build a strong defense and redeem their college career.