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Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The intent of this Policy is to protect and promote the health, wellbeing and safety of staff, students, contractors and visitors to Charles Sturt University by specifying requirements for the service of alcohol and the management of the alcohol and drug-related matters on University premises and at University-related events and activities.


(2) This Policy sets out the principles that govern the University's management of alcohol and other drug use by staff, students, contractors and visitors to the University. This includes the requirement to comply with Federal, State and local government legislation as well as the University's by-laws, regulations, rules and policies.

(3) This Policy:

  1. provides directions about responsible service and consumption of alcohol;
  2. provides directions about the use of other drugs; and
  3. provides information about alcohol and drug-related support services for staff and students.

(4) This Policy applies to all University campuses, including affiliated residential colleges, and to all University-related activities, including University events held on campus or elsewhere.

Related Documents

(5) This Policy is intended to be read with:

  1. CSU Enterprise Agreement;
  2. Code of Conduct;
  3. Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy;
  4. Unsatisfactory Performance - Management Procedure;
  5. Student Charter;
  6. any relevant guidelines for Association of Student Bodies or any guidelines for student events and related activities made under the Governance (Student Representation) Rule 2007;
  7. Club Starter Guide;
  8. The Club Handbook - Your Guide to Affiliated Student Clubs; and/or
  9. Student Misconduct Rule 2020.
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Section 2 - Glossary

(6) For the purposes of this Policy:

  1. Drugs - are any substance that may result in physical, psychological or behavioural changes that may cause impaired performance. In this Policy the word "drug", unless otherwise stated, refers to all psychoactive (mind and/or mood altering) substances, including:
    1. illicit drugs, which include "illegal drugs (such as cannabis, opiates, and certain types of stimulants), pharmaceutical drugs (such as pain-killers and tranquillisers) when used for non-medical purposes, and other substances used inappropriately (such as inhalants)" (Reference: Wikipedia, Illicit Drug Use in Australia);
    2. legal drugs (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, steroids);
    3. prescription medication (i.e. dispensed by a chemist or on the order of a doctor); and
    4. "over the counter" medication (i.e. any purchased medication that does not require a prescription).
  2. Intoxication - a person is intoxicated if:
    1. "the person's speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is noticeably affected, and
    2. it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the affected speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is the result of the consumption of liquor" (Reference: Liquor Act 2007 NSW).
  3. University-related activity - refers to any activity that staff, students, contractors or visitors engage in under the name of the University, regardless of whether or not the activity takes place on a University campus. Examples of University-related activities include working, teaching, research, workshops, conferences, training courses, classes, field placements, social, cultural, sporting, recreational and club activities.
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Section 3 - Policy

Part A - Introduction

(7) The University recognises that alcohol consumption is an established part of life in Australia and is enjoyed by many members of the University community. The University will not attempt to stop drinking on University campuses (other than in areas declared alcohol-free) but will encourage moderation and a responsible attitude towards the consumption of alcohol.

(8) The University recognises that alcohol is a depressant drug that can slow brain activity and motor skill responses, and that a range of illicit drugs as well as "over the counter" and prescribed medications can result in changes in behaviour, unsatisfactory work and/or study performance, absenteeism and accidents.

Part B - General Principles

(9) The University is committed to encouraging and assisting staff and students to realise their full potential within an environment that actively promotes their health, wellbeing and safety.

(10) The University expects all of its community members to be responsible citizens, and requires appropriate behaviour on University premises, at University events and when participating in University-related activities.

(11) The University is committed to the following principles:

  1. providing a safe and healthy environment for work, study and University-related activities;
  2. creating a climate that enables individuals to make a free and informed choice as to the level of their alcohol consumption, in an environment that is free of inducement and social pressure to drink;
  3. encouraging moderation and a responsible approach toward the serving and consumption of alcohol;
  4. ensuring an inclusive environment for individuals who choose not to consume alcohol;
  5. understanding and respecting individual and cultural differences in attitudes towards the consumption of alcohol;
  6. minimising alcohol and other drug-related harm to individuals, University property and the reputation of the University;
  7. ensuring that the possession, use and sale of alcohol or other drugs on any of the University's campuses are in accordance with relevant local government, State and Federal laws and University regulations and policy;
  8. providing an environment that actively promotes the health of the University community by offering appropriate drug and alcohol education and training programs; and
  9. ensuring the availability of a confidential and non-judgemental response for staff and students with alcohol or other drug-related problems through the provision of or referral to appropriate support services.

(12) The University reserves the right to declare alcohol-free areas such as laboratories, workshops, classrooms, sections of residences and other spaces as it sees fit.

(13) The University reserves the right to restrict the consumption of alcohol in regard to:

  1. certain University staff positions and, where this is done, the specific conditions will be incorporated into the employment contract and position description; and
  2. certain University-related activities (such as driving University vehicles and field placements) and, where this is done, the specific conditions will be incorporated into the policy, procedures, guidelines and/or instructions applying to that activity.

(14) A staff member or student who is certified by a doctor as recovering from drug abuse or in a treatment program should be treated in the same manner as a person with a disability, including being given the opportunity to have access to rehabilitation programs and counselling services.

Part C - Requirements

(15) Individuals must not consume alcohol:

  1. when they are under the legal drinking age (i.e. under 18 years of age); or
  2. where the consumption is likely to result in a subsequent breach of local government, State or Federal law. For example, if an individual intends to drive, they should not consume sufficient alcohol to raise their blood alcohol level above legal permissible blood alcohol limits for driving.

(16) The University will not condone the possession, distribution or consumption of illicit drugs and, where observed, all such activities will be reported to the relevant authorities (e.g. the police), and the staff members and students will be subject to University disciplinary proceedings.

(17) Staff, students, contractors and visitors must not consume alcohol during or prior to participation in any activity that is inherently hazardous or likely to become hazardous as a result of the consumption of alcohol as this poses a significant risk to the individual, others and/or property.

(18) The University does not permit the following on University premises or at University events:

  1. promotional activities offering inducements or otherwise encouraging drinking as the major objective. Refer to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's Liquor Promotion Guidelines for principles and examples relating to unacceptable promotions and promotions that require harm minimisation strategies. These include:
    1. activities that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol and rapid intoxication, particularly competitive, binge or excessive drinking practices such as pub crawls, "all you can drink" events and alcoholic drinking games;
    2. the use of non-standard measures that make it difficult to assess the amount of alcohol intake (e.g. yard glass, test tube or water pistol); and
    3. the provision of free drinks, extreme discounts, or discounts for a limited duration;
  2. disorderly behaviour or lack of respect for people or property, which is related to consumption of alcohol or use of other drugs; and
  3. harassment, bullying, coercion or other peer pressure exerted against individuals who choose not to consume alcohol or use other drugs.

(19) Staff or students who breach these requirements or any other conditions in this Policy may be subject to any one or more of the sanctions set out in clause 40 of this Policy.

University Events Involving Alcohol

(20) The University acknowledges that the consumption of alcoholic beverages occurs at various University events. However, under the harm minimisation approach, individuals are encouraged to:

  1. limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages to appropriate occasions/activities;
  2. limit their consumption of alcohol to a level where the alcohol does not impede or adversely affect their capacity or behaviour (or the capacity of others) in regard to the fulfilment of their obligations while at or representing the University; and
  3. comply with the reasonable instructions of those responsible for the service of alcohol and/or of University managers or employees with appropriate duties, e.g. Security staff.

(21) Organisers of University events involving alcohol must :

  1. ensure that, where required, an appropriate liquor licence (or limited liquor licence) is obtained and/or valid at the time of the event;
  2. assess the risk factors for events serving alcohol and minimise the risk level by developing and implementing strategies to control the identifiable risks - this can be done when completing the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy - Application and Risk Assessment Form or Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy - Application and Assessment Form - Residence Life;
  3. notify the Security Office of event details in advance, e.g. date, time, location, expected number of participants, and any other information requested by the Security Office;
  4. be aware of and ensure compliance with the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) requirements specified in the Liquor Regulation 2008 (NSW);
  5. ensure that non-alcoholic drinks, including water, are available; and
  6. ensure that appropriate food that does not encourage further drinking is available.
(22) Alcohol must not be served to persons under the age of 18 years.
(23) Alcohol must not be served to intoxicated persons - refer to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's Intoxication Guidelines 2020 to determine whether or not a person is intoxicated.

(22) Alcohol may only be consumed in the area designated for the event.

(23) Advertising and sponsorship of an event must be in accordance with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.

(24) Staff, students, contractors and visitors to the University who do not comply with these requirements may be removed or excluded from the University premises or event.

Drinking and Driving

(25) Prior to any event where alcohol is to be served, the organiser should provide information to attendees about the transport facilities available to travel to and from the event, e.g. bus timetables, taxi services and "designated driver" arrangements.

(26) Where people have to drive vehicles home following an event, the organiser should consider providing non-alcoholic drinks free of charge to the "designated drivers".

(27) If the organiser of the event is aware that a person attending the event has had too much to drink, they should, where possible, arrange for supervised transportation home for that person or take other reasonable steps to ensure the personal safety and security of that person, e.g. assisting the person to contact a friend or relative to collect them from the event.

Staff, Students, Contractors and Visitors

(28) All staff, students, contractors (including external vendors and external organisers of events) and visitors must take all reasonable steps to ensure that their use of alcohol or other drugs does not impact on the health, wellbeing and safety of themselves and others, University property and the reputation of the University.

Staff and Students

(29) Staff and students must:

  1. not attend work, lectures or other University-related activities if their performance or behaviour is impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs. If found to be affected, they may be removed from the premises and may be subject to disciplinary action;
  2. notify their manager, supervisor or lecturer prior to commencing work/study or participating in any other University-related activity if they are taking prescription drugs or "over the counter" drugs that have specific warnings on use (i.e. they may impact on their ability to perform their duties/study or participate in the activity);
  3. not be over the legal limit in relation to alcohol and/or other drugs when they are in charge of University vehicles and machinery, handling hazardous chemicals or undertaking hazardous activities. If in charge of a University vehicle, they must also comply with the relevant road safety legislation (e.g. restrictions on drink driving);
  4. make sure they are aware of and comply with applicable local government, State and Federal laws and the University's regulations, rules and policies (including those of affiliated residential colleges);
  5. where appropriate, confidentially encourage fellow staff members or students to seek assistance if they believe misuse of alcohol or other drugs is occurring;
  6. demonstrate professional and responsible behaviour when representing the University at events where alcohol is available; and
  7. immediately contact an appropriate person (e.g. supervisor, lecturer or University officer) if they believe that a staff member or student is demonstrating signs of intoxication by alcohol and/or other drugs (e.g. slurred speech or unsteady gait).

(30) The University acknowledges that the decision to consume alcohol is a personal one. However, individuals should note that, having made a conscious decision to consume alcohol, they remain responsible for their behaviour and are liable for the consequences whilst under the influence of alcohol, including any damage to University property.

University Managers and Supervisors

(31) Where an event is organised by staff, the managers or supervisors are responsible for the event, regardless of whether it is an informal or formal event.

(32) Managers and supervisors of staff and students, at all levels (including lecturers and those providing residential and on-campus services to students), have a duty of care to staff or students in their charge to ensure that, if their performance or behaviour is recognisably impaired or affected by the suspected or actual use of alcohol or other drugs, whatever the cause, they not be allowed to engage in activities that place themselves or others at risk.

(33) The approach to managing alcohol and drug-related performance and conduct issues is outlined in the "Flow Chart for Management of Performance and Conduct Issues Related to Misuse or Abuse of Alcohol or other Drugs".

Part D - Assistance from the University

Health, Education and Promotion

(34) The University will undertake an integral approach to health education and promotion by:

  1. encouraging staff to provide relevant educational material to fellow staff members and students;
  2. providing relevant staff with training in identification and referral of staff and students to appropriate services;
  3. assisting relevant staff and students to establish and/or observe procedures in the work/study environments, halls of residence and University- affiliated clubs for identification and management of alcohol and drug-related health and safety issues;
  4. providing educational programs, literature and events to promote a responsible attitude to alcohol and discourage the use of illicit drugs; and
  5. using visual displays and various media to encourage awareness.

Counselling and Referral

(35) The University will:

  1. encourage staff and students who suspect that they may have, or are known to have, an alcohol or drug problem to seek assistance;
  2. provide counselling for students through the Health Promotion and Counselling Service (see clause 40 for contact details) and referral for staff to counselling services through the Employee Assistance Program, in relation to alcohol or drug abuse and associated problems; and
  3. provide referrals to appropriate support agencies with the cooperation of the individual.

Seeking Help

(36) The University has established a network of internal and external sources to assist staff and students to identify and manage alcohol and other drug-related problems that they or others may be experiencing.

  1. For staff, information can be obtained through the Manager, Health Safety and Wellbeing on (02) 6338 4029 or the Manager, Employee Relations and Policy on (02) 6933 2212.
  2. For students, information can be obtained by emailing for student club events or for student group events

(37) Further information about alcohol and other drug-related issues is available at:

  1. Work Health and Safety: Physical Wellbeing;
  2. Student Counselling;
  3. Your wellbeing (current students) (for students);
  4. headspace(National Youth Mental Health Foundation) — contact headspace Bathurst: phone (02) 6338 1100; headspace Wagga Wagga: phone (02) 6923 3170; and headspace Port Macquarie: phone (02) 6588 7300.
  5. Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) (free 24-hour confidential information, advice and referral telephone service) —Regional NSW: phone 1800 422 599;
  6. Counselling Online (free 24-hour text-based drug and alcohol help line);
  7. Kids Help Line (free confidential telephone and online counselling service for young people aged up to 25 years) — phone 1800 55 1800;
  8. DrinkWise Australia;
  9. Good Sports (free support to sporting clubs to change their culture and reduce high risk drinking); and
  10. Australian Drug Foundation.

Consequences of Breach

(38) Breaches of this Policy may result in:

  1. for staff, disciplinary proceedings being taken for a breach of discipline or misconduct under any relevant industrial instrument (e.g. Enterprise Agreement or contract of employment) or any legislation, policy or by-law of the University;
  2. for students, disciplinary proceedings being taken under the Student Misconduct Rule 2020 or any legislation, policy or by-law of the University;
  3. for any individual, civil action being taken to recover any damages to University property; and
  4. for any individual, reporting of the breach to police or any other appropriate authority external to the University.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(39) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(40) Nil.