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Alcohol and Drug Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy (Alcohol and Drug Policy) aims to:

  1. ensure that the University is a safe place for people to work, study and visit;
  2. inform staff and students about the support available to them if they suffer from an alcohol or drug problem;
  3. encourage strategies which minimise the adverse impacts of alcohol and drugs on the workplace;
  4. minimise the University’s exposure to legal action arising from the inappropriate consumption/use of alcohol or drugs; and
  5. protect the reputation of the University.


(2) The University requires that staff engaged in University business and students participating in learning, teaching and research activities must not be impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Further, inappropriate or unlawful conduct that arises out of the use of alcohol or drugs can expose the University and the individual to legal liability.


(3) This Policy applies to staff, students and visitors of the University who are:

  1. in attendance at University Premises; or
  2. taking part in a University activity as a participant or representative of the University (eg field trips, inter-University events, or conferences).
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Section 2 - Policy

(4) The University is committed to providing a productive, safe and healthy work and study environment.

(5) Persons who are Impaired by alcohol or drugs or Intoxicated at work or study seriously undermine the University’s commitment. It can compromise the health, safety and welfare of the individual concerned, as well as other staff, students and visitors, and may affect an individual’s ability to perform their duties competently and safely.

(6) Therefore:

  1. Staff must not, in the normal course of their duties, work while Impaired or Intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
  2. Staff and students must not operate a University vehicle, boat or machinery, and must not work in laboratories, workshops or other Hazardous Locations if they are Impaired by alcohol or drugs;
  3. Students and staff must not operate a vehicle on University grounds while Impaired or Intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
  4. The University does not support nor condone binge drinking and bans the consumption of Illegal Drugs on University Premises;
  5. Staff using prescribed or over the counter medications are to be aware that these medications can affect their ability to perform their work safely. Where the use of such medications has an impact on the staff member’s ability to safely discharge their duties, the staff member must notify their manager/ supervisor and discuss suitable alternative work arrangements;
  6. Students taking prescribed or over the counter medication, should consider any side effects and any adverse impact they may have on undertaking a learning activity safely and must notify their course supervisor to discuss alternatives;
  7. Students and staff must not be Intoxicated by alcohol or drugs on part of the University Premises that the University community is entitled to access (whether by payment of money, by virtue of membership of a student organisation or other body or otherwise) or which is within sight or hearing of such a place;
  8. Students and staff must not use, possess, grow, manufacture, store or distribute Illegal Drugs or bring Drug Paraphernalia to University Premises;
  9. Students and staff must not give another person or cause another person to be given or to consume food or drink which contains an Intoxicating substance if the recipient is not aware the food or drink contains the Intoxicating substance or that the food or drink contains more of an Intoxicating substance than the recipient would reasonably expect it to contain;
  10. Staff and students who engage in inappropriate or unlawful behaviour on University Premises as a result of consuming alcohol or other drugs may be subject to disciplinary action; and
  11. The University, in providing places for the sale and consumption of alcohol on University Premises, will ensure that the sale is in accordance with all laws and licensing conditions and requirements and provide access to non-alcoholic alternatives.  Where required by law or as a condition of any liquor licence, the University will ensure food is available.

University Related Functions

(7) There are times when it is appropriate for staff and/or students to consume alcohol in the course of their work/study or during associated activities such as:

  1. work related functions where alcohol is served;
  2. networking/business engagement activities;
  3. campus celebrations – such as graduation, launches or dedications; and
  4. informal gatherings of colleagues.

(8) If alcohol is to be served or sold at a Temporary Liquor Control Area, a person who holds such licences as are required by law must be engaged to manage the service of alcoholic beverages.

(9) Informal gatherings of staff are excluded from this requirement where the alcohol is provided for the consumption by individuals attending the gathering and is not for sale. Senior staff approving or attending these events must ensure that alcohol is served and consumed responsibly.

(10) Where alcohol is consumed at such functions, staff and students must conduct themselves in a responsible and appropriate manner, including:

  1. not consuming alcohol to a level where they become Intoxicated;
  2. not engaging in conduct that could impact negatively on the University or those associated with the University and their respective reputations; or that damages the University’s relationship with other parties;
  3. not encouraging others to engage in the irresponsible use of alcohol; and
  4. not engaging in or encouraging others to use Illegal Drugs or engage in activities that are violent, intimidating, and illegal or breach University policies or Codes of Conduct.

(11) In instances where a person’s consumption of alcohol is deemed excessive, or where the person becomes Intoxicated, a senior member of staff, security personnel or other authorised personnel shall seek to have the Intoxicated person removed from the function.  In these instances, the senior member of staff, security personnel or other authorised person should ensure that the Intoxicated person has a safe option of getting home (eg taxi, relative can pick them up). The University may recover the cost of transport from the Intoxicated person.

Major Events

(12) Staff, students and visitors attending a Major Event have a choice as to whether they will consume alcohol or not. The University is committed to providing an environment that protects the right of staff and students to attend these events without consuming alcohol or experiencing pressure to do so.

(13) All Major Events will be managed in accordance with all applicable laws and licensing conditions and requirements and the University’s policies.

(14) The sale of food, low or non-alcoholic beverages, and the provision of alcohol free zones are a mandatory component of the University’s strategy for Major Events.

(15) Alcohol consumption will only be permitted within specified, sign-posted, alcohol access and consumption zones during Major Events.

(16) Suitably trained staff must be engaged to ensure that alcohol is served in accordance with all laws and licensing conditions and requirements.

(17) Where a person has become Intoxicated at a Major Event, they will be removed from the event and re-entry to some or all University Premises will be denied.  In appropriate circumstances, the University may call on the assistance of the Police.

University Support

(18) The University will make available to staff and students information about responsible alcohol use, harm minimisation and cessation programs for people who are addicted to alcohol or use Illegal Drugs, as well as informing people about this Policy.

Confidential Referral and Counselling for Drug and Alcohol Related Problems

(19) The University acknowledges that staff and students may experience problems as a result of using alcohol or other drugs. While this does not excuse poor performance, alcohol and drug related problems must be addressed in a supportive manner.

(20) The University will provide support to staff by assisting the staff member with referral for treatment and confidential counselling services. Referral will be coordinated between the staff member and their medical practitioner.

(21) Students who are identified as having a drug and/or alcohol problem(s) will be referred to Campus Wellbeing for referral to appropriate treatment and counselling services.

(22) Seeking assistance related to addressing a drug and alcohol problem will not, by itself, result in disciplinary action, nor will it affect the employment/study status of the person involved. 

(23) The rights of staff and students to privacy and confidentiality are respected, but this must be balanced with the University’s duty to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for all staff, students, contractors and visitors. If there is a situation where alcohol or drug misuse may contribute to potentially significant safety, legal or performance events, the University will act responsibly to protect its staff, students, contractors, visitors and the community in which it operates.

Disciplinary Action

(24) Staff who breach this Policy will be subject to normal disciplinary proceedings as outlined in the Macquarie University Enterprise Agreements.

(25) Students who breach this Policy will be subject to the provisions outlined in the Student Conduct Rules and Student Conduct Procedure.

Use of Illegal Drugs in Research

(26) The University may undertake research using Illegal Drugs and alcohol. This Policy does not impact on the use of these drugs and alcohol for lawful research, analysis or instruction purposes that have all relevant authorities and approvals, including approval by relevant government authorities (if required) and University ethics committees (if required).

(27) The storage and use of Illegal Drugs for the purpose of research, analysis or instruction will be regulated in a manner consistent with all laws. 

(28) The University requires that two appropriately authorised individuals are to be present at the time of dispensing and disposing of Illegal Drugs for research, analysis or instruction purposes. 

(29) Staff and students who are authorised to work with Illegal Drugs must do so in accordance with the relevant Procedure and Schedule.

Compliance and Breaches

(30) The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this Policy applies breaches this Policy (or any of its related procedures). A breach may also result in referral to the police.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(31) Nil.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(32) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(33) The following definitions apply for the purposes of this Policy:

  1. Drug paraphernalia: any drug equipment, products and materials which are used, intended for use or designed for use in:
    1. planting, propagating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analysing, repackaging, storing, containing or concealing any illegal drug or plant; or
    2. injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the body an illegal drug.
  2. Hazardous Location: buildings in which a fire or explosion hazard exists due to the presence of (1) highly flammable gases, flammable volatile liquids, their mixtures, or other highly flammable substances, (2) combustible dust or filings in large enough quantity to cause a fire or explosion, and/or (3) easily ignitable fibers or material.
  3. Illegal Drugs:
    1. a plant, drug or substance the Possession, use or distribution of which is unlawful or, if only available on prescription for which the relevant person does not have a prescription; and
    2. a substance the chemical structure of which is substantially similar to the chemical structure of an illegal drug as described above and has a substantially similar effect to an illegal drug.
  4. Impairment: altered normal physical or mental capacity resulting in a diminished ability to perform assigned tasks in a safe and productive manner, which may include the display of one or more of the signs listed in the Alcohol and Drug Schedule.
  5. Intoxicated (also referred to as being drunk): a person is intoxicated or drunk if they are Impaired to such an extent that:
    1. the person’s speech, balance, co-ordination or behavior is noticeably affected and may include display of one or more of the signs listed in the Alcohol and Drug Schedule; and
    2. it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the affected speech, balance, co-ordination or behavior is the result of the consumption of alcohol or another drug or a combination of drugs.
  6. Intoxicating: includes stupefying.
  7. Major Event: a large-scale, University related gathering of a few hours or days to celebrate, honor, discuss or educate which attracts a large crowd or media attention.
  8. Possession of anything by a person includes that person being in control of that thing or it being in the vicinity of that person in circumstances where it is reasonable to assume that it has in the recent past been in that person’s possession or control.
  9. Premises means any:
    1. building, structure, aircraft, vehicle or vessel; or
    2. land or place (whether or not it is enclosed, built on or covered by water).
  10. Temporary Liquor Control Area: any University Premises designated for a University related function or Major Event where alcohol is served or sold at an unlicensed venue on campus.
  11. University means:
    1. Macquarie University;
    2. any affiliated institution;
    3. any college; and
    4. any educational institution located on University Premises.
  12. University Premises includes:
    1. any Premises owned, operated, supervised, occupied or controlled by the University or in which it has an interest including Premises of which the University is the landlord;
    2. any Premises on which University activities take place; and
    3. any college Premises.