If you are arrested, immediately ask to notify the nearest US Embassy.  You have the right to contact the American Consulate.  If you are unable to do this, try to have someone contact the embassy for you.  The Consulate should visit you, contact family and friends and can assist in the transfer of money, clothing and food.

Drug arrests and convictions among Americans are on the rise.  If you are caught with illegal drugs overseas, you are subject to local, NOT US laws.  If you are arrested, you must realize:

  • Few countries provide a jury trial
  • Some countries employ the death penalty, with no questions asked
  • Most countries do not accept bail
  • Pre-trial detention can often last months
  • Inhumane conditions may exist in the prisons
  • Officials may not speak English

The rights an American enjoys in the States do not apply to travel abroad. Each country is sovereign and its laws apply to everyone who enters regardless of nationality. The U.S. government cannot get Americans released from foreign jails. However, a U.S. consul will insist on prompt access to an arrested American, provide a list of attorneys, and provide information on the host country’s legal system, offer to contact the arrested Americans family or friends, visit on a regular basis, protest mistreatment, monitor jail conditions, provide dietary supplements, if needed, and keep the State Department informed.
As you are still a Pitt student and subject to the Student Code of Conduct while abroad, you may be subject to disciplinary preceedings at the University of Pittsburgh if you use, possess, distribute, sell, or are under the influence of illegal drugs or are knowingly present during the commission of the aforementioned violations while abroad.  See Appendix C of this Handbook for a full listing of Offenses Related to Welfare, Health, or Safety (taken from the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Code of Conduct). You are ultimately responsible for your behavior and choices at all times.