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Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of the Policy is to ensure, as far as practicable:

  1. that students undertake their activities unaffected by use of alcohol and other drugs;
  2. where legal substances are used, that this occurs with responsibility and moderation;
  3. environments free of inadvertent social pressure to use drugs or consume alcohol.

(2) The Policy is not intended to discourage the legitimate use of prescription and 'over the counter' medication.

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Section 2 - HESF/ ASQA/ ESOS Alignment

(3) HESF: Standard 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety.

(4) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015: 1.7 Supporting learners and providing access to support services.

(5) ESOS Act 2000 – National Code 2018: Standard 6 Student Support Services.

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Section 3 - Scope

(6) This Policy applies to all students of Victoria University (VU).

(7) The Policy applies on all VU onshore and offshore campuses, VU owned student residential facilities, facilities that are leased or owned by others and operated by others on behalf of the VU, and environments where VU activities are being conducted.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(8) Authorised University activity: Refers to all on-site and off-site activities that students engage in within VU, including classes, workshops, field placements and recreation activities.

(9) Drug/Substance:  Includes a range of substances incorporating prescribed medications, over the counter or non-prescription medications, legal and illicit drugs. For the purposes of this Policy the following categories of drugs are referred to:

  1. illicit drugs, e.g. heroin and cocaine;
  2. legal drugs, e.g. alcohol and tobacco;
  3. prescription medication; and,
  4. over-the-counter or non-prescription medication. 

(10) Duty of Care: VU's obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid foreseeable harm to all individuals at the University inclusive of staff, students, contractors and visitors to VU. 

(11) E-cigarettes: Are devices that heat and vaporize a liquid that is then inhaled, simulating the act of smoking. E-cigarettes can also be known as e-shisha, e-cigar, e-pipes, e-hookahs, vape pens, hookah pens and vape pipes. The liquid ingredients vary, however typically contain chemicals, including solvents and flavouring agents, and may or may not contain nicotine.

(12) Harm Minimisation: Refers to policies and programs that are designed to build safe, healthy and resilient communities through preventing, responding and reducing alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social and economic harms. Refer to National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 .

(13) Over the counter medication: Refers to any purchased medication that does not require a prescription.

(14) Trafficking: Trafficking is a term generally used to describe illegal trade, sale and exchange of specified quantities of drugs.

(15) University: Refers to all VU campuses and locations where VU-related activities including teaching, learning, assessment and graduation activities of VU take place.

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Section 5 - Policy Statement

(16) VU is committed to providing students with a safe and healthy learning environment. As part of this commitment, VU will:

  1. Provide educational services and resources to students on drug related issues, which focus on harm minimisation strategies, understanding drug use issues, and VU’s alcohol and other drugs policies;
  2. Provide assistance via Student Services, confidential advice and referral to community drug and alcohol agencies for students seeking assistance or treatment for themselves or significant others with drug use issues;
  3. Install and maintain needle and syringe disposal bins in identified locations;
  4. Maintain efforts to observe the law in relation to drug trafficking, drug possession and related crime on VU campuses and sites;
  5. Establish and maintain partnerships with relevant local councils, Victoria Police and other community and service groups who are working with drug related issues;
  6. Ensure that discretion is employed at all times regarding information about students' drug use and is not used to discriminate against those students;
  7. Ensure that alcohol and other drugs issues are incorporated in relevant course curricula (e. Occupational health and safety);
  8. Maintain a Drug and Alcohol Sub-committee that will meet upon request to provide advice and strategic direction on drug and alcohol related issues;
  9. Reduce the risk of smoking-related harm to all occupants as a Tobacco/Smoke-Free University.

(17) Students shall not participate in authorised VU activities impaired by the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

(18) The management of all drug use, drug related issues and associated activities are underpinned by the framework and philosophy of 'harm minimisation'.

(19) Regardless of the nature and type of drug use, the primary considerations in the management of drug use, drug related issues and associated activities are:

  1. The health and safety of students and any persons they come into contact with during VU business and activities;
  2. Compliance with legal and duty of care requirements;
  3. The following of correct and ethical procedure when using any licit or illicit drug as part of research and National Drug Strategy.
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Section 6 - Procedures

(20)  Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Procedure

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Section 7 - Supporting Documents and Information

(21) Responsible Service of Alcohol Training

(22) Guidelines for the Responsible Service and Consumption of Alcohol