It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM – P) that students are functioning free from the influence of illicit or illegal substances. The use of controlled substances (unless prescribed by a clinician), medical marijuana or illegal substances is prohibited. This policy is intended to delineate drug testing requirements and disciplinary sanctions that the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix may impose on students who are suspected or accused of being under the influence of alcohol or other prohibited substances.

All students are expected to comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations concerning drug and alcohol use, including rules, policies and procedures of the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, and individual clinical placement sites at which the students are assigned. See Student Code of Conduct.


I. Routine Alcohol and Drug Screening

  1. Timing: Upon matriculation to the College of Medicine – Phoenix and prior to beginning clinical activities at affiliate sites that require drug screening, students will be required to submit results of a standard 12-panel urine drug screening (UDS). The Office of Student Affairs will notify students if an assigned clinical site requires a UDS.
  2. Cost: Students will be responsible for the costs of any routine screening.
  3. Testing Location(s): Students may select a site of their choice for completion of a UDS. Certiphi, COM – P’s contracted vendor for screening services, offers discounted UDS rates at multiple local lab locations.
  4. Results:
    1. Students will upload their results into Certiphi’s myRecordTracker for release to assigned clinical site(s).
    2. Positive Results.
      1. A Certiphi Medical Review Officer will review any positive results and follow up with the student to determine if the positive result is due to a clinician-prescribed medication.
      2. The student is offered the opportunity to have the original sample retested at the student’s expense.
      3. Any questions or concerns about routine drug testing may be shared confidentially with the Associate Dean, Student Affairs.
      4. Students who test positive on a routine screening will be referred to the Associate Dean, Student Affairs, who will review the test results.
      5. See section IV for disciplinary actions for positive results.

II. “For Cause” Alcohol and Drug Testing

To ensure compliance with institutional policies and to promote a safe and healthy work environment, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs may require students to submit to drug and/or alcohol testing “for cause” based upon reasonable suspicion of substance abuse.

Upon suspicion a student is violating this policy, an individual or Student Progress Committee (SPC) must contact the Associate Dean, Student Affairs and document in writing the exact reason why the violation is suspected. The reporting person should make every effort to document the specific facts as to why they believe the student is violating this policy and how the behavior is affecting the student’s performance. Whenever possible, corroborating statements from other administrators, faculty, employees, students or patients should be obtained.

Reasonable suspicion of inappropriate alcohol or drug use may be based upon, but is not limited to, the following criteria:

  • Direct observation of drug or alcohol use or possession and/or demonstration of physical symptoms of the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
  • A pattern of abnormal or erratic behavior consistent with alcohol or drug abuse; or
  • Arrest or conviction for a drug or alcohol related offense; or
  • Identification of a criminal investigation into drug use, possession, or trafficking; or
  • Evidence that a student has tampered with a previous drug or alcohol test; or
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Associate Dean, Student Affairs will review the reasons a violation is suspected with the University of Arizona Office of the General Counsel to determine whether the criteria for reasonable suspicion is met. If criteria for reasonable suspicion is not met, “for cause” testing will not be required of the suspected student.

In instances when testing is done at the request of the Student Progress Committee, the report would come back to the Associate Dean, Student Affairs and to the SPC chair.

Upon receipt of a report of suspected violation of this policy, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs must notify the student of the charges.

If, in the judgment of the Associate Dean, Student Affairs and/or Student Progress Committee, the student represents a clear and present danger to self or to others, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs may take immediate steps to suspend the student. The Associate Dean, Student Affairs may also take additional steps that, in their judgment, may be necessary to minimize risks to the student or to others, including securing emergency professional assistance.

III. “For Cause” Testing Procedure

  1. Timing: When determination to test “for cause” has been made, the student will be given a Chain of Custody form from Certiphi with instructions on where to obtain a drug screening for collection of urine sample for drugs and/or alcohol. The sample must be provided at the testing location within 24 hours of written notification that “for cause” testing is required.
  2. Cost: Testing cost will be borne by COM – P.
  3. Testing Location(s): Any Certiphi-associated laboratory.
  4. Results:
    1. The “for cause” testing results will be uploaded into Certiphi and the Associate Dean, Student Affairs will receive the Drug Screening Report. In instances when testing is done at the request of the Student Progress Committee, the report would come back to the Associate Dean, Student Affairs and to the SPC chair.
    2. Prior to making a final decision to confirm a positive test, the student will have the opportunity to discuss the test results with the Associate Dean, Student Affairs.
  5. Appealing and Retesting:
    1. Positive test results may be appealed by submitting a written request to the Associate Dean, Student Affairs within three business days after being informed of the positive test results. Upon appeal, the student has the right to have a second test performed on the original specimen for qualitative presence only at a certified laboratory of the student’s choice and all expenses of such a retest will be the responsibility of the student. The specimen transfer between laboratories will follow chain of custody protocol.

IV. Disciplinary Actions

Any student who has a positive result on an alcohol or drug test may be subject to a disciplinary hearing before the Student Progress Committee and sanctions, up to and including dismissal. A student’s participation in, and successful completion of, an approved drug or alcohol counseling program, coupled with the student’s consent to random testing, may be considered in the disciplinary process but does not ensure that dismissal will not occur.

  1. Any student who is given the option to participate in a rehabilitation program will comply with the treatment and rehabilitation requirements as imposed by the Student Progress Committee which may include:
    1. Satisfactorily participate in a substance abuse assistance program or rehabilitation program approved by the Student Progress Committee for this purpose.
      1. Provide evidence satisfactory to the Student Progress Committee of continued outpatient therapy in an approved program appropriate to the treatment recommendation.
      2. Remain substance free after completing a rehabilitation program for chemical dependency and participate in random drug screening during rehabilitation for the duration of their medical education at the College of Medicine – Phoenix.
    2. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in recommendation for dismissal.

V. Refusal to Consent to Testing

Any student who refuses to consent to an alcohol or drug test or fails to provide an adequate specimen, as documented on the Drug Screening Report, will be referred to Student Progress Committee for possible sanctions, up to and including dismissal.

VI. Confidentiality

Every effort will be made to keep the results of alcohol and drug testing confidential. Students should be aware that test results may be used for administrative hearings and court cases and may be sent to state and/or federal agencies as required by applicable law.

Curriculum Committee
  • Original Approval Date:
  • Current Effective Date: