FEB 28 1996 The Honorable David L. Hobson U.S. House of Representatives 1514 Longworth HOB Washington, D.C.

20515 Dear Congressman Hobson: I am responding to your letter on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Roger Bloomfield, regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the use of alcohol and drugs by college students. The response to your letter was delayed because of the Federal shutdown. I apologize for any inconvenience to your constituent. Mr. Bloomfield's letter asks about the protections afforded to students using alcohol or illegal drugs in the context of the college admissions process. Mr. Bloomfield's question arises from the suggestion that users of alcohol or illegal drugs be excluded from admission to colleges or universities. Colleges and universities may be covered by either title II or title III of the ADA. Title II covers publicly owned or operated schools, while title III covers private schools. Both title II and title III prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by covered entities. Therefore, a covered entity generally may not rely upon an individual's disability as a basis for excluding that individual from participating in the entity's programs or services. Mere casual use of alcohol or illegal drugs does not constitute a disability within the protection of the ADA. Therefore, a college or university may refuse admission to casual users of drugs or alcohol without violating the ADA. In addition, in enacting the ADA, Congress chose specifically to exempt from civil rights protection drug addicts who are currently engaged in the illegal use of drugs. Therefore, a college or university may exclude such current illegal drug users from its programs. cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Hill, FOIA n:\udd\hille\policylt\hobson.ltr\sc. young-parran 01-04151

-2However, in order to encourage individuals with chemical dependencies to pursue rehabilitation and recovery, Congress chose to provide ADA protection to individuals with a history of drug dependency who have successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program, who are currently participating in such a program, or who, through their own efforts, are no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs. Therefore, a college or university may not categorically exclude applicants on the basis of their former drug dependency. Congress did not exclude alcohol dependency from coverage under the ADA. Therefore, individuals who are dependent on alcohol may not be excluded simply on the basis of their status as alcoholics. They may, however, be held to the same standards of conduct that other participants must meet, e.g., behavior standards, academic standards. Therefore, a college or university may prohibit drinking or drunkenness, as long as the prohibition applies to all students, not just those who are or were dependent on alcohol. I have enclosed, for your information, two copies of the Department's regulations implementing titles II and III of the ADA, as well as one copy of each of the Technical Assistance Manuals for titles II and III. Additional information regarding the application of title II of the ADA to educational institutions may be obtained by contacting the Department of Education at (202) 205-5413 (Voice), (800) 358-8247 (TDD). I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures 01-04152 October 14, 1995 The Honorable David L. Hobson 1514 Longworth HOB

Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear David: At a recent conference, Legal Issues in Higher Education, sponsored by the University of Vermont, I participated in a discussion concerning how an institution might screen alcohol abusers during the admissions process in an attempt to reduce the growing number of sexual assault and other incidents on campus that seem to coexist with alcohol abuse. One of my colleagues contended that one needed to be cautious about such screening since a student impaired by alcohol could claim protection under the Americans with Diabilities Act. It struck me as inappropriate, and almost ridiculous, that anyone under age 21 could claim alcohol as a disability since it is unlawful for those under age 21 to consume alcohol. The same could be said of other controlled and drug substances that are abused. Consequently, I am prompted to write to you to ask you to consider whether federal legislation amending the ADA would be in order to make it clear that one cannot claim the Act's protection for any disability that is caused by the person's having engaged in an illegal activity. Because this matter is related to the illegal use of alcohol, perhaps Mike DeWine would be interested in considering this point. There is no particular urgency to this matter, and in view of the other items on your current agenda, I would not expect any response until it is convenient for you. Susan and I send our best to you and Carolyn. Cordially, 01-04153