POL-U1300.03 Reducing the Risk Associated with the Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

November 8, 2022

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to student, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, volunteers, visitors and guests.


Western’s leadership is committed to having a university environment free of the adverse effects of drug and alcohol use. It maintains this commitment in support of academic excellence, work performance, and quality of life as well as for the current and future wellbeing of all members of the University community.


Controlled Substances

Substances designated as schedule I through V under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention & Control Act of 1970 (Title 21, Part B, section 812) and Code of Federal Regulations (Part 1301.11 schedule I), including marijuana which remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law.  See RCW 69.50.101.


For the purpose of this policy, the term drug includes:

  1. Controlled substances, as defined in 21 USC 802 and RCW 69.50.101, which cannot be legally obtained,
    1. Legally obtainable controlled substances which were not legally obtained, including prescribed drugs, when:
    2. Prescription is no longer valid (e.g. use of medication after a course of treatment is completed),
    3. Used contrary to the prescription, or 
  2. Legally obtainable controlled substances which were not legally obtained, including prescribed drugs, when:
    1. Prescription is no longer valid (e.g., use of medication after a course of treatment is completed),
    2. Used contrary to the prescription
    3. Issued to another person. 
  3. Over-the counter drugs when intentionally used contrary to product instructions (i.e, for purposes of causing intoxication)

    Drug Paraphernalia

    As defined by RCW 69.50.


    For this policy, marijuana means any product derived from the plant Cannabis with a THC content greater than .3 percent dry weight. These products include but are not limited to the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or resin. See RCW 60.50.208(f).


    As defined by applicable law or regulation. See RCW 560.50.4013 Controlled Substances and RCW 69.50.4014 Marijuana.

    University Sponsored Group Trip

    An academic related trip including students and supervised by University faculty and/or staff that is through:

    • WWU Education Abroad
    • A field course: Curriculum-required courses where learning takes place in a natural environment under the supervision of faculty and/or staff leaders. Field courses can be of long duration that last several days or weeks, or moderate duration like a weekend trip, or
    • A field trip: A small component of course activities that provide an opportunity for students to add essential, real-life experiences to their learning.  Field trips are commonly of short duration that last up to a day or so.

    University Activity

    Any academic or non-academic activity or event approved, funded, or sponsored/co-sponsored by the University including but not limited to those activities which area an extension of academic courses, internships, field trips, conferences, athletic events, or other activities or events sponsored by Western Washington University, Outreach and Extended Education, Education Abroad, the Western Foundation, or the Western Alumni Office.

    University Athletic Events

    Includes varsity, intramural, or club sports, and is applicable at both on and off-campus events, and to the University community participating in or in attendance at the event.

    University Community

    The University community includes:

    • WWU employees (temporary, project, and permanent staff and temporary and permanent faculty, and student employees),
    • University volunteers,
    • Matriculated and non-matriculated students,
    • Visitors and contractors and contractors’ employees present at University activities and/or on University controlled property,
    • Alumni attending University or alumni activities or accessing resources.

    University Property

    Includes any outdoor property or building/facility space owned or leased by the University.


    Under rule WAC 296-800-099 - Definitions, the term workplace means ‘any Plant, yard, premises, room, or other places where an employee or employees are employed for the performance of labor or service over which the employer has the right of access or control, and includes , but is not limited to, all workplaces covered by industrial insurance* under Title 51 RCW, as now or hereafter amended”.

    Note: The workplace is anywhere employees are working, not just the University's physical locations.

    Policy Statements

    1. Western is Committed to a Drug-Free Workplace and Educational Environment

    The University remains committed to a safe, ethical, and productive work and educational environment and prohibits the use, sale, possession, and distribution of alcohol on University property during work hours and academic and student activities.

    The University complies with and enforces the requirements of the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. When state and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol conflict, the University complies with WAC 296 800-11025 which prohibits the use, sale, possession, and distribution of alcohol on University property, during work hours and academic and student activities. The university also prohibits employees under the influence of alcohol or narcotics from the worksite. 

    The University is subject to federal reviews for compliance. Violations can result in:

    1. Repayment of any or all forms of federal financial assistance received by the University,
    2. Suspension or termination of a federal contract or grant and/or
    3. Terminated (debarred) as a federal contractor, or
    4. Fines and potential loss of ability to receive funds through federal resources.

    2. The University Develops Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program

    The University will maintain a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program (DAAPP) in accordance with federal law which requires institutions of higher education that receive federal financial aid to establish and maintain a DAAPP to prevent the unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, controlled substances, and alcohol by all students and employees on school premises or as part of any of its work, academic, or student activities.

    The DAAPP specifies information to be distributed annually and requires assessment of enforcement and effectiveness of all campus program elements. See the Standards for Maintaining the University’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program (STN-U1300.03A) for information on how the University implements the required elements of the Program.

    3. Marijuana Use, Possession, Manufacture, or Distribution on University Property is Prohibited

    The use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana is prohibited on University controlled property or during University activities. Although Washington state law allows for limited use, possession, manufacturing, and distribution of marijuana, it is illegal under federal law, with which the University must comply. Medical use of marijuana is also prohibited by federal law. Therefore, individuals with a prescription for medical marijuana must still comply with this section. See RCW 69.50.208.

    Exception: This does not restrict student or employee legal use of marijuana under state law as long as it does not take place on University property or during University activities or impact work performance. Students and employees are encouraged to consult their medical practitioner for alternative treatment methods.

    Distribution of marijuana through the U.S. postal service is a federal offense where both the sender and recipient can face federal criminal charges. Campus mail services (including residence halls) are required to immediately contact University police upon suspicion of drug distribution through University Mail Services.

    4. Serving Alcohol at University Activities or on University Property Requires Prior Approval

    Approval of the Vice Presidents of the division is required to serve alcohol for any event held on University property or during a University event or activity. This includes external parties utilizing University property for an event. Approval must be obtained in compliance with the Standards for Serving Alcohol at University Activities (STN-U1300.03B).

    5. Use of Alcohol or Controlled Substances for Academic or Research Purposes Requires Department Controls

    When alcohol or controlled substances are needed for academic or research purposes, the department will contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety and the Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs for specific direction for purchasing, handling, secured storage, record-keeping, and disposal requirements.

    6. Students Must Comply with Conduct Code

    In addition to the requirements of this policy, students must comply with the requirements outlined in Western’s Student Conduct Code (WAC 516-21).

    In situations involving intoxication, alcohol poisoning, or drug-related medical issues, students are encouraged to seek swift medical assistance for themselves and others without fear of penalty.   

    Students requesting and receiving medical assistance in these situations will not typically be subject to the student conduct process. See WAC 516-21-055 Amnesty, and RCW 69.50.315 Medical Assistance -Drug Related Overdose.  Also see WAC 516-21-120 which specifically prohibits Hazing.

    7. Impairment by Alcohol and Drug Use Prohibited During University Sponsored Group Trips

    Those responsible for supervising students on University sponsored trips are required to:

    1. Comply with the laws regarding drug and alcohol use in the relevant jurisdiction, and
    2. Not be impaired while supervising students, whether within or outside their immediate presence.

    Deans and department or program directors may require more restrictive requirements on the use of drugs and alcohol.

    8. Employees are Prohibited from Being Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs During Work Related Activities

    Employees are prohibited from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing job duties, conducting University business, driving a University vehicle, and/or participating in any on or off- campus University-related activity.  This section applies to any work activity covered by University funds, using University resources, and/or on University paid time.  

    Exception 1:  

    The prohibition does not apply to proper use of over-the-counter or prescribed medication. However, any person taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication is personally responsible for ensuring that while taking such drugs or medications, they are not a safety risk to themselves and others while on University property, while driving a University or privately-owned vehicle, or while otherwise engaged in University business. 

    If use of medication could adversely affect their work performance or workplace safety, the employee must contact the Disability Administrator in Human Resources to discuss options including sick leave, workplace adjustments or accommodations.  The employee need only disclose the side effects of a medication, not the medical reason or drug name.

    Exception 2: 

    For work-related events that have authorized alcohol service, such as during conference social networking hours, foundation fundraising events, and department retreat social hours, legal alcohol consumption is permitted. Employees are always expected to maintain professional behavior when representing Western at such events. 

    Exception 3:

    See Section 6 – Impairment by Alcohol and Drug Use Prohibited During University Sponsored Group Trips.

    9. Employees Must Comply with State Driving Rules

    When driving University owned or leased vehicles, employees are prohibited from:

    1. Using tobacco products, including vaporizer pens, or
    2. Transporting alcohol, marijuana, or any other intoxicating substances in state vehicles unless transporting such substances is within the scope of the driver’s official job duties.

    Employees must abide by all applicable laws when driving a personal vehicle for work activities.

    10. Individuals with Suspended or Revoked Drivers Licenses are Prohibited from Driving

    No person, including students, volunteers, or contractors may operate a vehicle on University property or while engaged in University business if their driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.

    Any employee, including student employees, who is required to have a valid driver's license for the performance of their job, must notify their immediate supervisor of any revocation or suspension of their driver’s license, or upon conviction of violating any substance-related driving law, on the first workday following notice of the license suspension, revocation, or otherwise determined to be invalid.

    11. University will Comply with Federal Requirements for Positions Requiring Commercial Driver’s License

    The University will comply with federal requirements for hiring and employing individuals in positions requiring a commercial driver’s license. See the Drug and Alcohol Testing for US DOT Compliance Policy (POL-U5410.04)    

    12. Policy to be Enforced in Coordination with Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)

    When the policy conflicts with employee CBAs or MOUs, the CBAs and MOUs will take precedence over this policy as long it does not cause the University to be in violation of the law. When the CBAs or MOUs are silent regarding the specific requirements of this policy, the policy will take precedence as applicable.

    13. Employees Convicted of Criminal Drug Charges are Required to Notify Supervisors Within Five Days

    Employees convicted of a federal or state criminal drug violation that occurred at the workplace or while engaged in work-related activities must notify their Department Head or Dean within five calendar days of the conviction. The Department Head or Dean must report the notice to Human Resources in accordance with the Reporting Drug Convictions of Federally Funded Employees Procedure (PRO-U1300.03A).

    Also see Section 12 – Policy to be Enforced in Coordination with Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs).

    14. Individuals are Responsible for their Own Behavior, Counseling or Support Assistance and/or Treatment

    The University strongly encourages students and employees to seek counseling or support assistance and/or treatment when dealing with substance abuse or repetitive behavior that may lead to dependency. The University recognizes the importance of supporting individuals through substance abuse/dependency challenges, however, successful remediation of the issues and success as a student or employee of the University will only be achieved if the individual accepts responsibility for their own behavior and treatment. Individuals are encouraged to utilize the resources below to obtain University support and avoid possible sanctions.

    15. Western is Committed to Providing Resources for Students and Employees

    The University recognizes that alcohol and drug abuse and dependency are treatable illnesses and encourages students and employees who may have alcohol or drug abuse problems to seek counseling, support and/or treatment for them.



    16. Western Maintains Opioid-Related Overdose Response Plan

    To prevent opioid-related overdoses and respond to medical emergencies resulting from overdoses, University Police will comply with Washington state issued opioid-related overdose policy guidelines and training requirements. See Standards: Administering the Opioid Overdose Reversal Medication Plan (STN-U1300.03D).

    17. Marketing, Advertising, and Event Promotion Referencing Marijuana or Alcohol is Prohibited

    Western does not permit any form of marketing, or advertising of the use (including limited or responsible use) of alcohol or marijuana products on University property or through any University event promotion either physical copy or electronic notification, to include but not limited to email, electronic signage or media platforms, posters, fliers, handbills, or displays. Events approved to serve alcohol are not to include an announcement or reference, either directly or implied, regarding the offering of alcohol service at the event. Exceptions to this rule may be approved by the University Marketing Office.

    Exception: This restriction does not pertain to advertising in the student-operated newspaper, The Western Front, and such advertising is allowed at the discretion of the University.

    18. Campus Visitors and Guests are Required to Comply with University Regulations

    The University will enforce this policy and violations thereof and take action against campus visitors including, but not limited to, individuals who are on University property or attending a University-related event and are not enrolled students, are the guest of a student or employee, participating in a camp or program, attending a meeting, or consulting with an office or department, or are individuals engaged in providing a service such as contractors, subcontractors, volunteers, or service providers, on University controlled property.

    Corrective action for visitors found in violation of this policy is to be handled through University Police.

    19. External Individuals or Groups Leasing University Space Required to Comply with University Policy

    Alcohol may be served at private events when in compliance with the Standards for Approval to Serve Alcohol (STN-U1000.07B). All University applicable policies and WAC 516 must be complied with by external individuals or groups when leasing University space.

    20. Employees Must Maintain Confidentiality as Required by Law and University Policy

    Complaints and investigations regarding violations of this policy are to be confidential to the extent permitted or required by state and federal law. University departments and programs assisting employees or students with alcohol/drug related situations must maintain confidentiality practices in accordance with applicable state and federal law. Departments unsure of privacy requirements or best practices are to consult with the:

    • University Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Officer,
    • University HIPAA Officer,
    • Employee Disability Administrator, or
    • Director of the Student Disability Access Center.

    21. Known or Suspected Violations are to be Reported

    To assist the University in sustaining a safe and productive work and educational environment, members of the University community are expected to report suspected violations of this policy, associated standards, procedures, or collective bargaining agreements. Supervisors must remove employees from safety-sensitive work when there is reasonable suspicion and take appropriate corrective action as warranted by positive evaluation and/or test results.

    Reports are to be made to the following offices based on the individuals involved in the known or suspected situation:

    Reporting process for different scenarios
    Situation Involves:    Report To:
    Employee or volunteer  Human Resources
    Student/Visitor in a residence hall    Residence Life
    Student            Student Life
    Marketing/Advertising University Marketing
    Alumni  Alumni Office
    Board of Trustees Member President’s Office
    Contractor or contractor’s employees  Contract Administration
    Visitor University Police

    Supervisors and other proper authorities are to respond to a reported incident promptly. Following sufficient investigation and review, identified individuals will be held accountable for their actions while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.  

    Intervention for employees and students who violate policy or have performance or attendance problems resulting from alcohol or drug abuse may include referral to available assessment and counseling, disability accommodations, support, or treatment services, and/or disciplinary action including but not limited to a warning, suspension, termination/expulsion and/or legal actions.

    Investigations, reviews, and intervention will be conducted in accordance with applicable:

    1. University policies, standards, and procedures,
    2. Federal, state, and local laws,
    3. Student Code of Conduct (WAC 516-21),
    4. Housing Agreement for students living in University residences, and
    5. Employee handbooks and/or collective bargaining agreements.

    23. Compliance Oversight and Enforcement is Managed through Delegated Areas of Responsibility

    Compliance is to be implemented and monitored by the compliance owners and partners in accordance with the University Compliance Program. Compliance owners and partners will coordinate efforts to enforce compliance requirements with this policy and relevant procedures and standards when a situation involves an overlap of responsibility. Each compliance owner and partner, as listed below, are responsible for implementing training on this policy in their respective areas of responsibility

    Oversight Of Students

    The Executive Director of Student Life, in collaboration with the Director of University Residences, under the direction of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, are the delegated compliance partners responsible for the consistent implementation of the student code of conduct, an effective student disciplinary program, and overseeing the annual evaluation of compliance and consistent enforcement of behavioral standards and procedures outlined in this policy as they pertain to students.

    The Executive Director of Student Life under the direction of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, is the delegated compliance owner responsible for:

    • Developing and overseeing the implementation and dissemination of federally required information.
    • Developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy as they pertain to students.
    • Drug and alcohol-related education and training for students which covers student specific behavioral requirements and procedures under this policy.

    Oversight Of Employees And Volunteers

    The Associate Vice President for Human Resources is the delegated compliance owner responsible for developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy as they pertain to classified and professional staff and volunteers.

    The Provost is the delegated compliance owner responsible for overseeing compliance of and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy pertaining to faculty and visiting faculty. 

    Oversight Of Visitors And Invited Guests

    The Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police is the delegated compliance owner responsible for developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy and applicable laws and regulations as they pertain to visitors and guests.

    Oversight Of Purchasing, Service, And Disposal Of Alcohol And Drugs

    The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) is the delegated compliance partner responsible for developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy pertaining to purchasing, transportation, service, and disposal of alcohol. When the purchasing of alcohol or drugs is needed for academic/research purposes, the CPO will work with the Research and Sponsored Programs, EHS, and Public Safety to establish proper protocol and controls.

    The Director of Environmental Health and Safety is the delegated compliance partner responsible for developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy as they pertain to disposal of unwanted or expired alcohol and other DEA drugs used in research or instructional settings. 

    Oversight Of Contractors And Vendors

    The Chief Procurement Officer is the delegated compliance partner responsible for developing and overseeing compliance and enforcement of standards and procedures under this policy as they pertain to contractors and vendors.

    Oversight Of Marketing And Advertisements

    The Director of Marketing, in collaboration with the Executive Director of Student Engagement is the delegated compliance owner responsible for developing, overseeing compliance of, and enforcing written standards and procedures under this policy as they pertain to University marketing related to the use or promotion of alcohol and other drugs.

    Oversight Of Illegal Activities

    The Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police is the delegated authority for enforcing all laws related to illegal activities and communicating incidents with the appropriate compliance owners and partners such as Human Resources, the Provost, or the Executive Director of Student Life when applicable.

    Policy Contact

    President's Office

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    • POL-U7400.01 Policy Concerning Alcohol and Drugs