Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy
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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy

Introduction

In an effort to promote the responsible use of alcohol and to prevent the abuse of drugs on campus, NECI has developed the following policies:

Except as outlined under NECI's Alcohol Tasting policy, all NECI educational facilities are alcohol and substance free, regardless of the individual's age. Alcohol, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia are prohibited on campus (this includes alcohol vessels of all types: cans, bottles or other alcoholic storage containers even if empty). 

Underage drinking is against the law in Vermont and is not permitted under any circumstances. Under Vermont state law, and under NECI's Alcohol Tasting policy, students over 18 may be permitted to taste alcohol as a part of regularly scheduled class or approved educational tasting event following guidelines listed in the tasting policy.

All NECI sponsored activities and events are alcohol and substance free.  This includes NECI sponsored field trips, regardless of where the event takes place and regardless of the individual's age.  Students found in violation will be subject to disciplinary action and may be required to provide their own transportation back to campus, if deemed necessary.  In addition, students are required to sign a waiver agreeing to this policy, prior to embarking on the trip. 

Students wishing to consume alcohol as patrons at a NECI restaurant must honor Vermont laws and regulations governing the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages and will be expected to dress and act in a manner that maintains and supports the high standards of the school. Restaurant managers have the right to ask students to leave the premises in order to assure that regular business is not jeopardized.

Should a prior drug or alcohol problem exist, students should clearly identify it on the Student Disclosure Form. This information is treated in a confidential manner and is essential to NECI's understanding and assisting in making appropriate referrals for counseling and treatment. Similarly, if prescription drugs are being used, the drug(s) and possible side effects should be clearly identified on the Student Disclosure Form.

NECI Policies

NECI policies apply to all campus facilities. As NECI students are representatives of the college at all times, students may be sanctioned under NECI policies for incidents involving unprofessional behavior, police intervention or unlawful behavior within the community. Some indicators of a violation of the above Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy are the following and include:

  • Underage drinking
  • Violations of NECI's Educational Tasting Policy
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances in classes or campus housing
  • Purchasing or otherwise providing alcohol to underage drinkers
  • Knowingly consuming alcohol with underage drinkers
  • Damage to property and/or threats of violence associated with the consumption of alcohol
  • Refusal to cooperate and abide by school policies while under the influence of alcohol
  • Dangerous behavior to self or others
  • Possession of alcoholic beverages or evidence of alcohol on campus (e.g. empty alcohol containers/vessels smelling of alcohol, or alcohol packaging)
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • The presence or evidence of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia - including hookah/Shisha pipes or water pipes
  • Other irresponsible behavior including, but not limited to, littering, infringing on the rights of others, obscene or violent language, disorderly behavior, illegal operation of a vehicle, and making a public nuisance
  • Lack of community professionalism within the Montpelier Community
  • Unlawful behavior or any behavior resulting in police intervention

Violations of NECI policies will result in strict disciplinary action as well as all prohibited items and/or materials being immediately removed or confiscated, which may include disciplinary fines.

Educational Tasting of Alcoholic Beverages

According to Vermont state law, all students 18 or older may taste alcoholic beverages in a class under the supervision of a NECI instructor. The following requirements are based on commonly accepted professional tasting guidelines.

  • No students under the age of 18 may actively participate in tastings.
  • Alcohol tastings must occur between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm.
  • All alcohol tastings must include food (minimum of bread) and water.
  • All pours are done by the instructor or his/her designee.
  • Students must spit, unless the intent of the tasting involves food/wine interactions being examined as part of food and wine pairings. Students must taste from individual containers.
  • In the case of food and wine pairings, the total amount of alcohol tasted per day is not to exceed 6 oz. of beer or wine, or 1 oz. of spirits.
  • Students may be involved in a maximum of two tastings per day.
  • The maximum size pour for beers or wines is 2 oz.
  • All straight spirits must be tasted using sipsticks.
  • During any tasting, a maximum of ten (10) wines, beers, or mixed cocktails may be tasted, and a maximum of five (5) straight spirits.

Under special circumstances, the Director of Academic Services may approve a request to taste additional wines or may grant permission for a tasting to occur with a dinner after 7 pm. 

Any student activities sponsored club or gathering, such as a special student meal, organized to learn more about and taste wines must include an instructor and must adhere to the above guidelines and be approved by the Director of Academic Coordinator of Student Programs. In any case, student participants must be 21 or older. Tasting rules and procedures are to be reviewed prior to each tasting with presenters as well as participants.

NECI Penalties

The minimum penalties for any offense associated with the college's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Policy, in addition to removal or confiscation of all prohibited items and materials, may include:

First offense:

  1. A $125 fine will be imposed. This fine must be paid prior to resumption of classes.
  2. A disciplinary letter of review will be entered in the student's file.
  3. Parents/guardians of any student under the age of 21 may be notified of any violation of the drug and/or alcohol policies.

Second offense:

  1. A $250 fine will be imposed. This fine must be paid prior to resumption of classes.
  2. Providing an illegal substance or alcohol to a minor is an automatic second offense and is punishable by law.
  3. A disciplinary letter of review will be entered in the student's file.
  4. Parents/guardians of any student under the age of 21 may be notified of any violation of the drug and/or alcohol policies.

Third offense:

  1.  A $500 fine will be imposed. This fine must be paid prior to the resumption of classes. 
  2. The student will be required to leave student housing and may be suspended from the program. A disciplinary letter of review will be entered in the student's file.
  3. Parents/guardians of any student under the age of 21 may be notified of any violation of the drug and/or alcohol policies.

NOTE: Depending on circumstances, second and third offense penalties may apply earlier, particularly in cases of providing drugs or alcohol to underage students or being found with mass quantities of drugs or alcohol. This may also include the notification of local police or the State Alcohol Control Board investigators. Under certain circumstances, a specific deadline extension may be granted and/or a work plan established to pay a fine.

State Penalties

NECI has developed a positive relationship with local police over the years and will cooperate fully with any investigation by state, local, and federal authorities. Situations in which NECI employees will automatically call the police include, but are not limited to: incidents where a student threatens his/her own life or that of others; violent behavior; refusal to cease disorderly behavior when asked; suspected illegal alcohol or substance use, and the sale of illegal drugs on property owned, leased, or managed by NECI.

Violations of state or federal law will be subject to school disciplinary action determined by the Coordinator of Student Services or Coordinator of Student Programs.

The State of Vermont has legislation governing the use of controlled substances and imposes significant penalties for violations. Penalties can include but are not limited to substantial fines, education programs and fees, suspension or loss of driver's license, and imprisonment.  Vermont state statutes regarding drug and alcohol use include, but are not limited to restrictions regarding:

  • Unlawful sale or furnishing of alcoholic beverages to minors
  • Use of alcohol by minors
  • Misrepresentation of age or identity to obtain an adult ID card, altering an ID card, using someone else's ID card, or loaning an ID card to someone else
  • Misrepresentation of age or identity for the purpose of purchasing or consuming alcohol
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages while operating a motor vehicle
  • Driving while under the influence (If blood tests shows 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the person's blood or breath, it is presumed that the person is driving under the influence)
  • Obtaining or attempting to obtain a regulated drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge, forgery, alteration of a prescription, and/or the use of a false name or false address
  • Illegal possession of regulated drugs including, but not limited to depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, marijuana, narcotics
  • Possession with intent to sell (based on quantity possessed)
  • Illegally dispensing, administering, prescribing or selling a narcotic, stimulant or hallucinogenic drug
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (defined, in part, as all equipment, products, and devices designed for use in storing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the body a regulated drug)

State penalties for drug and alcohol violations may range from $500 - $25,000, and imprisonment may range from 6 months to 25 years, depending on the specifics of the violation.  Students can view the complete Vermont State Statutes pursuant to illegal drugs and alcohol online at Vermont Statutes, In particular, links to Title 7, Title 18 and Title 23, which describe consequences to which violators may be subject in the event of violation of school rules/regulations and applicable local, state, or federal laws, are provided.  Full text of these  Vermont state laws can be viewed by following the links below:

Title 7: Alcoholic Beverages, Penalties

Title 18: Health, Drug Paraphernalia

Title 18: Health, Possession & Control of Regulated Drugs

Title 23: Motor Vehicles, Operation of Vehicles

Information concerning the identification, uses, and effects of controlled drugs are also available through the office of Student Services.

Federal Penalties

Additionally, NECI adheres to Federal laws and guidelines regarding drug abuse prevention and control and will cooperate fully with any investigation by federal authorities. Federal regulations and penalties for violations are severe and are outlined at justice.gov (specifically at the following: Controlled Substances Act Penalties, Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties). Students should also refer to NECI's Financial Aid Fact Booklet for information regarding the impact of drug convictions on eligibility for Federal Financial Aid programs.

Prevention

NECI seeks to assure the health and well-being of all students, faculty, and staff. The health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse are well documented. They include decreased coordination, judgment, perception, and concentration; drowsiness or abnormal excitation; insomnia; and loss of appetite. Withdrawal from an addictive substance can cause irritability, anxiety, apathy, depression, and disorientation. Further materials describing the effects of alcohol and drug abuse are available through the office of Student Services

Drug and alcohol abuse are counterproductive in an environment of intensive technical training requiring concentration, stamina, coordination, and safe practices. Pursuant to this concern, NECI provides and promotes the following educational and support services:

Intervention

NECI considers it has an obligation to intervene in the activities of a student any time there is concern about the physical or psychological welfare of that student or other students, or any time the student's academic performance is suffering due to detrimental behavior. This may include, but is not necessarily limited to drug and alcohol abuse. The main objective of intervention is to help individuals face their problems so they can effectively function within the program.

Intervention is a way for the school to identify the problem, to negotiate a plan to rectify the situation in the most constructive manner possible, and to follow through in support of the agreed-upon plan. The plan is written in the form of a contract that the school approves and the student signs. Failure to follow the plan may lead to suspension from the program. A crisis intervention counselor and/or drug testing/alcohol assessment may be recommended or mandated. NECI respects the privacy and individual rights of students, yet must also be responsive to the dangerous or destructive behavior of an individual toward others or him/herself and to applicable local, state, and federal laws. If the school receives complaints from the community regarding irresponsible acts of a student, the student may be held accountable by the school. Such acts may include, but are not limited to: writing bad checks, disorderly conduct, theft, and liquor law violations. Such acts may be grounds for student violations, fines, suspension, and dismissal.

To ensure fairness, continuity, and cohesiveness, an administrative team will manage the intervention program. The team is normally made up of Director of Academic Services, the Academic Advisor, the Coordinator of Student Services, the Coordinator of Student Programs, and the Department Chair for the student's program.

Referral

Confidential referrals can be made for students who believe they may have an alcohol or drug abuse problem. An appropriate referral may be made after consultation with the Coordinator of Student Services or the Coordinator of Student Programs. Possible referrals include a private counselor, psychologist, medical physician, state-subsidized agency or counseling service, support group, residential treatment program, or preferred religious agency or individual. Names and services of referrals are available through the office of Student Services.  Evidence of regular participation with an approved professional counselor or service may be required in order for the student to remain enrolled in the program. Every effort will be made to keep all referrals as non-punitive as possible.

Regular support in Montpelier is provided by such agencies as the Washington County Mental Health Services (229.0591) in Montpelier, Maple Leaf Farm (899.9211) in Underhill (providing regional residential treatment), Central Vermont Substance Abuse Services (223.4156) in Berlin, and the Washington County Youth Services Bureau (up to age 22, 229.9151) in Montpelier.

Training

A group drug and alcohol awareness program is presented during the first term in the Professional Development class. In addition, drug and alcohol awareness training is provided for Resident Assistants and faculty. This training may, at times, include presentations conducted by professionals within the local community.

Summary and Review

Federal law requires all institutions receiving federal financial assistance to implement and enforce drug and alcohol prevention policies. NECI strongly supports this initiative. Any violation of drug and alcohol law, even for a first offense, may result in penalties up to and including termination of enrollment.

Possession, solicitation, sale, or use of alcohol and illegal drugs is prohibited. NECI refers individuals who violate the law regarding illegal drugs to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The misuse and or abuse of alcohol, public intoxication or illegal drugs will not be tolerated.

Misuse and/or abuse of alcohol or drugs will be dealt with in a serious, swift, and direct manner following the guidelines of this policy. NECI reserves the right to take appropriate action on any violation, including intervention, referral and administrative action which could result in suspension, dismissal, and/or referral to law enforcement officials.

NECI, while upholding the law and while discouraging illicit drug and alcohol use, also takes the initiative to inform and educate all students (users and nonusers alike) on drugs and alcohol and their effects, and confidentially advises drug and alcohol abusers. The school wishes to promote early recognition of a problem and treatment. This policy on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention is reviewed annually and modified as necessary.