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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education

Washington University seeks to encourage and sustain an academic environment that respects individual freedoms and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As adults, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors are expected to know and obey the applicable laws and all university rules and regulations and to be responsible for their own behavior.

Washington University complies with federal laws on drug and alcohol abuse prevention. These laws require that, as a condition of receiving federal funds (particularly student aid funds), Washington University adopt and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. The manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of illicit drugs and the unlawful possession, use, sale, or distribution of alcohol on Washington University property, or as part of any of university activities, are prohibited. WUPD has primary responsibility for the enforcement of state underage drinking laws as well as the enforcement of federal and state drug laws.

Anyone who violates the law or university policy is subject to discipline within the university. Students are subject to discipline under the University Student Conduct Code (See Appendix I, or visit the University Student Conduct Code) and to sanctions ranging from warnings to expulsion. Potential sanctions are described in Section VI of the Code. Faculty and staff members are subject to a full range of sanctions, up to and including dismissal. Those who violate the law also may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Relevant state and federal statutory provisions setting forth the criminal offense and potential penalties are included in Appendix P.

The university’s Drug and Alcohol Policy was adopted in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and is published in Course Listings, The Record, and employee, faculty, and student handbooks. The Drug and Alcohol Policy is also available at on the Human Resources website. The university also publishes a policy addressing alcohol at university events.

Questions concerning Washington University’s Alcohol and Drug policies and its provisions should be directed to:
Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
Rob Wild, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Transition and Engagement and Dean of Students
Human Resources (Danforth Campus)
Human Resources (Medical Campus)

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Programs

Early recognition and treatment of drug or alcohol abuse are important for successful rehabilitation, and for reduced personal, family, and social disruption.

Washington University encourages the earliest possible diagnosis and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse; however, the decision to seek diagnosis and accept treatment for drug or alcohol abuse is the responsibility of the individual.

The university encourages faculty, staff, and students to seek assistance in working with a substance abuse concern, or those concerns of a friend or family member, by contacting available resources. University resources include:
Habif Health & Wellness Center (a.k.a. Student Health Services) (Danforth Campus)
Student Health Services (Medical Campus)
Mental Health Services (Danforth Campus)
WUSM Department of Psychiatry
Employee Assistance Program

In particular, the Habif Health & Wellness Center offers programs and services for questions and concerns related to alcohol and other drugs. For treatment and information on the health effects of drug use and high-risk drinking please see Appendices N and O. To schedule a personal assessment, contact:
Amanda Hoylman, assistant director, alcohol and other drug programming

All incoming first-year and transfer students are required to complete an online alcohol education tutorial. In addition, Health Promotion Services organizes peer education programs. Useful information and links are also available on the Habif Health and Wellness Center website.

Programs and information offered include web-based alcohol and marijuana education and behavior assessment tools, free individual appointments, and workshops on stress management encouraging students to replace alcohol and substance abuse with healthier coping strategies, professional health education programs upon request to students in Fraternity and Sorority Life, Residential Life, Student Leadership and Orientation programs, online educational information posted on the Habif Health and Wellness Center website regarding what is a standard drink, what is moderate drinking, blood alcohol content, types of drinking behaviors, lower-risk drinking, how to recognize a problem, where to go for help, immediate care for an intoxicated person, and how to talk to a friend with a substance abuse problem.

The university founded the WashU Recovery Group in spring 2017. This group provides students in recovery from alcohol and/or drug use an opportunity to connect with others with similar experiences on campus. The group provides a safe place for students to learn about local resources, gain support, and connect during meetings and social activities. The group is not a recovery program, but is a resource that students can add to their support system while attending the university. Additional Substance Abuse Recovery programs and meetings are offered near campus.

During the annual new undergraduate and transfer student orientation program in August, the First Year Center facilitates a program called “Bearings” that all new students attend with their residential communities.

Transfer and exchange students also attend. “Bearings” is a series of thought-provoking and entertaining skits about the first-year experience at Washington University, presented by upperclass students. Students meet with their Residential College to hear from their Residential College Director (RCD), followed by a smaller group discussion led by their Resident Advisors and their Washington University Student Associates. The use of alcohol is addressed in the script for “Bearings.” The skit provides examples of bad choices that students make regarding their alcohol use and the negative personal consequences of those choices. Students are reminded that not all students choose to drink in college and those who choose to drink are reminded to do so responsibly. During the training of volunteer student WUSAs, the university’s alcohol and drug policies are discussed, as are the expectations of the WUSAs in fostering a safe environment in the communities where they are assigned.

The Office of Residential Life continually provides training that addresses substance use/abuse to undergraduate Resident Advisors (RA). Ongoing training is conducted in the following areas:

  • the effects of alcohol on the body;
  • the university policies concerning drugs and alcohol;
  • strategies for confronting students who have had too much to drink;
  • the university party registration process;
  • techniques for talking with students who may have a drinking problem; and
  • resources for RAs to refer students who may need additional support with alcohol or other drug concerns.

RAs are encouraged to provide at least one community program which educates undergraduate students on the risks associated with the use/abuse of alcohol in the first 6 weeks of the fall semester. These programs may be lectures, bulletin boards, community discussions or a related format, but must focus on making responsible choices. This serves as a follow-up to the skit in “Bearings” during New Student Orientation (Bear Beginnings) that discusses alcohol and drug use/abuse. Students are educated on the law and the university policies, while also being coached to make informed, responsible decisions.

The Office of Human Resources is instrumental in distribution of the university’s Drug and Alcohol Policy to university employees. The full policy or reference to the policy with directions to the entire policy is included in various publications, including the staff employee hand books, supervisor policy manuals, Faculty Information Handbook, and online on the human resources web sites; it is also reviewed in various forums, including faculty and staff orientations, supervisor/manager training programs and human resource policy overview sessions.

Key to the promotion of this policy, along with the resources and programs available to faculty and staff members seeking more information and assistance, is the university’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The university’s Employee Assistance Program also provides confidential, professional assistance to benefits-eligible university employees and their family members to help resolve problems that are affecting their personal life or job performance. In addition to traditional EAP services and support that include crisis intervention and drug and alcohol counseling, the university’s EAP offers online access to an array of information resources such as self assessments, expert articles, reference materials, bulletin boards, chat rooms, online databases and provider searches to assist and educate on a variety of topics. As a part of WU’s employee outreach, the EAP has been asked to include drug and alcohol education/prevention programs among the services it is contracted to provide.

The program is managed by Work-Life Solutions, a nationally known professional consulting firm specializing in EAP services. Employees can contact Work-Life Solutions 24 hours a day, seven days a week to arrange a confidential appointment with a specialist. EAP specialists have professional training and expertise in a wide range of issues such as marriage and family problems, alcohol and drug abuse, emotional and psychological concerns, financial difficulties, stress, and much more.

guidanceresources.com (click “Register” and enter the web ID “WASHU”)

In addition, the university has established an employee wellness initiative to promote evidence-based, data-driven wellness programs for benefits-eligible faculty, staff, postdoctoral appointees, and clinical fellows. This program provides opportunities for employees to assess their current health status, engage in health education programs, set goals for improving health decision-making, and track progress.

Numerous non-university counseling programs also exist in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Many programs advertise extensively in local media. Consultation with one’s personal physician is advised prior to self-referral to such non-university programs. For further information regarding referral to such programs, contact Student Health Services on the Danforth or Medical campuses or your private physician.