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Alcohol and Drugs (Students) Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) La Trobe University aspires to provide an outstanding student experience that is conducive to scholarly activity and supportive of individual learning goals. Underpinning this experience is a safe, inclusive and respectful environment.

(2) The University respects an individual’s right to exercise their freedom of choice, however the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff and members of the University community is paramount.

(3) This Policy and its attendant Procedures details the University’s commitment to reducing the risk of harm in relation to alcohol and drug use.

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Section 2 - Scope

(4) This Policy and its attendant Procedures applies to all students at all campuses (including all venues where students are representing the University across Australia and overseas).

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) The University is committed to:

  1. Maintaining a safe and healthy work, learning, research and residential environment;
  2. Ensuring a mature, balanced and responsible approach to the consumption of alcoholic beverages is presented in all marketing, promotion or sponsorship of events which involve alcohol;
  3. Reserving the right to proclaim any area or event either temporarily or permanently an alcohol-free zone;
  4. Promoting low-risk drinking and a responsible attitude towards alcohol amongst those who choose to drink;
  5. Promoting and maintaining a drug-free environment; and
  6. Adhering to responsible service of alcohol provisions.

(6) The University expects all students to abide by a number of standards at all times. These include:

  1. Abiding by both the University’s requirements and the law, which prohibits the possession, solicitation, sale, distribution, manufacture/production of or consumption of illicit (illegal) drugs at all times;
  2. Ensuring that the consumption of alcohol and legal drugs while on campus, when attending campus, at University activities or when representing the University does not:
    1. ­place the health and safety of anyone at risk
    2. cause damage to the University’s property
    3. impact an individual’s judgement or ability to perform their duties/studies
    4. disparage, deride or defame the University;
  3. Students who have access to the University property must not be impaired by or have consumed any alcohol/illicit drugs or be impaired by legal drugs whilst operating resources(ie equipment/technology) or studying/conducting activities within laboratories;
  4. Comply with the University’s Health and Wellbeing Procedure - Smoke Free;
  5. Comply with the social events requirements as set out in the Events Safety Procedure and which the Vice-Chancellor may change from time to time relating to the promotion, advertising and consumption of alcohol at events involving alcohol; and
  6. Comply with relevant policies, procedures and the law.

Reasonable Direction

(7) Students must follow the reasonable directions of the University staff (and law enforcement officers such as the Police) in relation to management and use of alcohol at University venues, events or in relation to attendance or remaining on the University campuses if adversely affected by alcohol/drugs.

(8) The University reserves the right to proclaim any area or event either temporarily or permanently an alcohol-free zone. No-one is to consume or store alcohol in an alcohol-free zone.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Prohibited (Illicit/Illegal) Drugs

(9) Students must abide by the law which prohibits the possession, solicitation, sale, distribution, manufacture/production of or consumption of illicit (illegal) drugs at all times. This includes drugs such as amphetamines (stimulants), methamphetamines (ecstasy, ice, speed) cocaine, cannabis and opiates (heroin).

Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs and Medications

(10) The possession and/or use of legal drugs/medications is only permitted for:

  1. Drugs prescribed by a medical practitioner;
  2. Over-the-counter drugs as permitted by law; and
  3. Drugs taken in accordance with the recommended dosage and directions.

Prescription Drugs/Medication

(11) Prescription drugs/medication can only be obtained by a written prescription from a doctor.

Over the Counter Drugs

(12) Over the counter drugs (also known as pharmaceutical drugs) are drugs or medications which can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy. They include drugs that can contain various chemicals, including pseudoephedrine and benzodiazepines.

(13) These medications may affect someone’s ability to effectively and safely perform their activities. Therefore, it is important to ask the pharmacist about possible side effects.

(14) Students are not in breach of this Policy or this Procedure as a result of taking prescription drugs/medications prescribed to them, however, should taking a prescription drug/medication result in impaired behaviour which creates a risk to the health and safety of others and/or causes damage to the University resources, this will be managed accordingly.


(15) Drinking alcohol can be quite harmful as it is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it slows down the processes occurring in the higher centres of the brain, resulting in symptoms of alcohol intoxication. Among others, these symptoms include loss of balance, poor coordination of the eyes and limbs, tunnel vision and impaired judgment.


(16) The University requires students to comply with legislative requirements governing the production, distribution and consumption of tobacco products (e.g. smokes, cigarettes, cigars and pipes).

(17) When on campus, students are required to abide by the University’s Health and Wellbeing Procedure - Smoke Free.

Representing La Trobe University

(18) Students must ensure that the consumption of alcohol and legal drugs while representing the University does not:

  1. Place the health and safety of anyone at risk;
  2. Cause damage to University property;
  3. Impact an individual’s judgement or ability to perform their duties/tasks; and
  4. Disparage, deride or defame the University.

(19) Where alcohol is provided at a formal event, consumption is a personal choice. No one should feel pressured to drink or not to drink, or be made to feel uneasy or embarrassed as a result of their choice.

(20) The University will not tolerate unsafe, unwelcome or offensive behaviour caused by the irresponsible consumption of alcohol or drugs by students.

Expected Behaviour

(21) When students represent the University at an event, the following applies:

  1. Students who consume alcohol must do so responsibly;
  2. Students must uphold an appropriate standard of behaviour at all times and being inebriated is not an ‘excuse’ for misconduct; and
  3. Students should consider their options to ensure a safe means of transport to and from such events.

University Resources and Laboratories

(22) Students who have access to the University property must not be impaired by or have consumed any alcohol/illicit drugs or be impaired by legal drugs whilst operating the resources or studying/conducting activities within laboratories.

Students Residing in University Owned or Managed Accommodation

(23) Residents must exercise maturity and community consciousness and accept personal responsibility for their own alcohol consumption and show care and consideration for other members of the residential community.

(24) Residential students are responsible for ensuring their visitors or invitees do not breach any University statutes, by-laws, regulations, rules, policies or procedures whilst on University premises (including the Accommodation Services precinct).

(25) Action taken when responding to violent behaviour will comply with the Responding to Violence (Students) Procedure. Instances of unacceptable behaviour will be documented and discussed with the resident as soon as appropriate in the circumstances.

Social Event Requirements

(26) The written permission of the Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) is required before a University organised event involving the consumption of alcohol is held on any of the University’s sites (including residential colleges), except in the case of licensed premises.

(27) Those supervising such events and participating in University activities are expected to do so in a safe, responsible manner that will not harm fellow University staff, students, others visiting the site or harm the University’s reputation.

(28) All activities organised by the University involving alcohol must have at least one person nominated as the event coordinator who will be responsible for the planning and management of the event.

(29) The event coordinator will be responsible for taking all reasonable steps to reduce risk and minimise harmful behaviour arising from the conduct of the event and must conduct this process in accordance with relevant procedures (see Events Safety Procedure). Alcohol must be served by staff appropriately trained in the responsible service of alcohol.

Marketing, Promotions and Sponsorship

(30) Marketing, promotion or sponsorship of on-campus events which involve alcohol must only depict responsible and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, and accordingly:

  1. Must not encourage excessive or rapid consumption, misuse or abuse of alcohol or promote offensive behaviour;
  2. Must not encourage under-age drinking;
  3. Must not identify access to free or cheap alcohol;
  4. Must not depict the consumption or presence of alcohol as causing or positively contributing to personal, academic, business, social, sexual, sporting, or other successes and activities; and
  5. Must not suggest that the consumption of alcohol offers any therapeutic benefit or is a necessary aid to relaxation or an improvement of mood.

Responsible Service of Alcohol

(31) The responsible service of alcohol provision ensures responsible and ethical serving of alcohol. These provisions must be adhered to at all times where alcohol is involved in a promotional activity or where it is intended to be served to members or visitors to the University on a complimentary or retail basis.

Alcohol-Free Zones

(32) The Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) reserves the right to proclaim any area or event either temporarily or permanently an alcohol-free zone.

Identifying and Managing Impaired Behaviour

Identifying Intoxicated or Drug-Impaired Persons

(33) It is important to make sure that the person is actually impaired by alcohol or other drugs, as the person may be affected by something else, such as stress, fatigue or illness.

(34) Observing the person for typical signs of intoxication may help to make that judgement. Typical signs of alcohol or drug intoxication may include:

  1. Speaking too loudly or too softly;
  2. Slurred speech;
  3. Bloodshot eyes;
  4. Lack of alertness, for example, responding slowly to questions;
  5. Poor motor control (stumbling, bumping into others, difficulty picking things up, etc.);
  6. Drowsiness;
  7. Scent of alcohol on breath or person; and
  8. Rude or aggressive behaviour.

Managing Impaired Behaviour

(35) Should the University require that a student be removed from campus, it is important to ensure the student has a safe means of transport home. For this reason, the University should ensure the student is, wherever possible, transported home in a safe manner and ensure they do not drive a vehicle.

(36) If the impaired student is not cooperating, consideration should be given as to whether there is a risk to health, safety and/or security to others and themselves. In this event, University Security should be called. In the case of life threatening emergency, 000 should be called, followed by a call to University Security.

(37) In the event that the impaired student is living in University owned or managed accommodation, University Security should be called in the first instance.


(38) While alcohol is available for consumption generally on University premises and at official University functions, the University requires that students, staff and visitors be unimpaired by alcohol/drugs.

(39) Individuals are responsible for their own behaviour when they consume alcohol/drugs and may face disciplinary action for their behaviour if they act irresponsibly under the General Misconduct Statute.

(40) All staff, students and visitors are responsible for ensuring each other’s safety whilst on campus or representing the University in any capacity in Australia or overseas.

Resolving Issues

(41) Students who witness or are the subject of alcohol-related behaviour are encouraged to contact Safer Community or to make a complaint via the online web form. More information can be found on the Student Complaints webpage or in the Student Complaints Management Policy.

General Misconduct

(42) Student engaged in alcohol related behaviour may be referred for action under the General Misconduct Statute 2009.

Emergency Assistance

Emergency Support

(43) For emergency support students and staff are encouraged to contact Campus Security on 03 9479 2222 or ex. 2222. Further information about emergency procedures can be found by visiting

Support Services

(44) The University recognises that alcohol and drug dependency can be a major health issue. La Trobe University provides access for students to confidential, professional and free counselling.

Student Counselling and Mental Health

(45) The University provides free and confidential short term individual counselling to currently enrolled students. For bookings, contact:

Ask La Trobe

(46) ASK La Trobe - Ask a Question is the 24 hour, 7 days a week student Q&A help service about study and student life.


Student Union and Associations

(47) Offering a range of support for students seeking assistance with academic issues, advocacy, legal assistance, emergency housing or tax/financial help.


Bendigo: 03 5444 7514 or visit

Bundoora: 03 9479 2314 or visit

Shepparton: 03 5820 8607 or visit

Mildura: 03 5051 4053 or visit

La Trobe Psychology Clinic

(48) Psychological therapy, child behaviour clinic, neuropsychological assessments and programs, group programs. Services are affordable and there is no need for a referral.

Telephone: (03) 9479 2150 or


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

National helpline: 1300 22 22 22

Narcotics Anonymous

Helpline Phone 1300 652 820


Helpline: 1300 22 4636


Helpline: 13 11 14

Turning Point Drug & Alcohol Centre

Helpline: 1800 888 236

Family Drug Help

Helpline: 1300 660 068
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Section 5 - Definitions

(49) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Adversely affected by alcohol/drugs is a person who may be displaying impaired, harmful, negative or unfavourable behaviour as a result of alcohol or drug consumption;
  2. Alcohol is any liquid substance that contains measurable quantities of alcohol;
  3. Contractor is a person employed either directly or indirectly by a company contracted to La Trobe University to provide equipment and/or services to the University;
  4. Drugs refer to all legal and illegal substances, including performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs), tobacco, pharmaceutical substances, illicit drugs and ‘new psychoactive substances’ or ‘synthetic’ drugs;
  5. Illicit drugs are any substance classified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (a division of the Commonwealth Department of Health & Aged Care) which is illegal to use or prescribe;
  6. Impairment is the alteration of normal physical or mental function, which results in diminished ability to perform tasks and activities in a safe manner;
  7. Incident is an undesirable or unplanned event that results in, or had the potential to result in, damage to business assets (people, plant, equipment) or interrupts business operations (process loss);
  8. La Trobe University property includes land, property, buildings, structures, installations, production facilities, vehicles, machinery/equipment owned by, controlled by, or under contract or lease to the University;
  9. La Trobe University resources includes land, property, buildings, structures, installations, production facilities, vehicles, machinery/equipment owned by, controlled by, or under contract or lease to the University:
    1. La Trobe University ‘campus’, site or premises includes all land, property, buildings, structures, installations, production facilities or vehicles owned by, controlled by, or under contract or lease to the University
    2. La Trobe University vehicle is a University vehicle which is owned, leased, hired by the University and used by either a staff member or contractor of the University during working hours. A vehicle is not deemed to be a University vehicle if it forms part of an employment/contract salary package and is being used for private purposes on which Fringe Benefits Tax(FBT) is paid by the employee/contractor
    3. La Trobe University residence is a University owned and/or operated student accommodation;
  10. Legal limit is 0.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for consuming alcohol and driving;
  11. Residential students/residents are students whose name(s) are listed in the Residential Agreement. La Trobe University residences include residences, residential apartments or any of the regional properties;
  12. Senior Staff Member is a University staff member who has the authority to redress unacceptable behaviour, who has the duty to report incident of unacceptable behaviour, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty (this includes a staff member currently employed at Level C or HE09 and above); and
  13. Student is any person enrolled as a student of La Trobe University. This includes full time, part time, block mode or distance education students.