Adams School of Dentistry: Controlled Substances Policy for Students and Residents

Unit Policy


Adams School of Dentistry: Controlled Substances Policy for Students and Residents

Purpose and Scope

Our purpose is to identify and address problems associated with Controlled Substance abuse or other Impairment. This policy describes the conditions under which UNC Adams School of Dentistry (“ASOD”) students and residents may be required to undergo testing for Controlled and/or Restricted Substances and to describe the consequences of positive Screening for Controlled and/or Restricted Substances.

Responsible Party and Review Cycle

The Office of Academic Affairs will review the policy on an as-needed basis. The ASOD Chairs Committee will be responsible for approval of the policy.


Controlled Substances: Include, but are not limited to marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, and similar drugs whose possession and use are prohibited under state or federal law; so-called "designer drugs," "look-alikes," synthetic drugs, and similar substances.

Restricted Substances: Prescription drugs, unless validly prescribed by a student’s physician and used as prescribed, and other substances whose use may be abused although they are available legally (such as alcohol, cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications), and substances not intended for human consumption (such as glue).

Positive Test: Positive result from testing for the presence of Controlled Substances or Restricted Substances. For Controlled Substances, any Positive Test for a Controlled Substance. For Restricted Substances classified as drugs, a Positive Test for the drug in its pure form or its metabolites at or above the specified cutoff levels by the laboratory performing the test is considered a Positive Test.

Impairment : State of an individual who is affected by consumption of Controlled Substances and/or Restricted Substances.

Screening: Examination performed for the purpose of assessing Impairment or prior use of Controlled Substances or Restricted Substances.

Reasonable Suspicion: An objective, justifiable presumption that is based on specific facts, observations or circumstances that justifies the Screening of a student /resident for Controlled Substances and/or Restricted Substances.


The following conditions are prohibited while enrolled at UNC; on duty; in class; on call; or other otherwise engaged in ASOD business, on or off the ASOD premises:

  • The abuse of, Impairment by, or illegal use, possession, manufacture, dispensation, distribution of, Controlled Substances or Restricted Substances.


ASOD advanced dental education residents will be Screened during orientation and for Reasonable Suspicion. DDS, DH, and Dental Education student Screening will occur before starting relevant clinical phases and for Reasonable Suspicion. The cost of initial screening will be borne by the Adams School of Dentistry. The cost of screening for Reasonable Suspicion will be borne by the student /resident.

ASOD students and residents may also be required to undergo Screening under the following conditions:

  • Reasonable Suspicion that a substance abuse problem or Impairment exists.
  • Screen is required by a clinical site (e.g., community preceptor, AHEC site).

If a clinical site requires a Controlled Substance and/or Restricted Substance screening as a condition of starting a rotation at their site and does not accept the screening results performed during the initial Screen, residents/students participating in these rotations will undergo Screening according to the clinical site requirements. The cost of such Screening will be borne by the student unless the cost is covered by the clinical rotation site.

ASOD students and residents may be required to undergo drug or alcohol screening if they exhibit behaviors that amount to Reasonable Suspicion of Impairment. These behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The appearance of impairment or intoxication at ASOD or in a clinical setting;
  • Unusual or aberrant behavior;
  • Conviction for an offense involving a Controlled Substance or Restricted Substance;
  • Evidence of drug tampering or misappropriation.

Individuals taking medications prescribed by a physician or over-the-counter medications should adhere to the terms of the prescription and to any activity restrictions recommended by the ir physician or the drug manufacturer.

Students may voluntarily request to undergo drug Screening. Voluntary testing is most often requested for extramural (away) electives. Students undergoing Screening for away electives should contact the Office of Academic Affairs for information about recommended laboratories and procedures. The cost of such Screening will be borne by the student.


A student with a Positive Test for Controlled Substances or Restricted Substances will be removed from the student or resident’s clinical activity in the ASOD and/or clinical rotation site until the Positive Test can be investigated , reviewed, and/or confirmed. This removal may result in the student receiving a grade of either “Incomplete” or “Withdraw.” A student or resident who receives a Positive Test result may be asked to re-Screen.

In the case of a confirmed test result, the student will be referred to UNC-Chapel Hill Campus Health Services for a medical evaluation and supportive therapy. The student will also be referred to the University Emergency Evaluation and Action Committee (EEAC) to assess whether the student presents a danger to himself/herself or to the campus community. The Policy and Procedures for the EEAC can be found at on the University Policy website. Students violating this policy may also be referred to the Honor System or to the relevant academic performance committee .

Marijuana use is not legal in North Carolina. A Positive Test for marijuana will be investigated regardless of whether or not marijuana was consumed in a state or country where marijuana or related substances are legal.

Students with Positive Tests due to legally prescribed medications will be asked to provide documentation of the prescription from a physician. Students with Positive Tests providing documentation of legally prescribed medication(s), where such use is consistent with the prescription, will be cleared to return to their clinical activities. Documentation can include signed letter from physician, pill bottle with student’s name/ date of prescription or signed prescription and should be submitted to the designated Medical Review Officer (MRO) provided by the drug testing company.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

Contact Information

Dr. Ed Swift, Executive Dean for Education
Dr. Ceib Phillips, Associate Dean for Advanced Dental Education
Dr, Sumitha Ahmed, Assistant Dean for Student Life



Article ID: 134986
Tue 8/3/21 10:19 AM
Tue 10/31/23 1:18 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
08/03/2021 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
06/01/2023 12:53 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
06/01/2023 12:53 PM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
06/01/2024 12:53 PM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/03/2021 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Adams School of Dentistry Academic Affairs

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