Model Policy: Alcohol, Tobacco and Recreational Drugs

Athletics departments are committed to providing a healthy environment in which student-athletes can grow academically and athletically.  The misuse of alcohol and use of recreational drugs among the employees and student athletes undermines this commitment.  Toward the end of advancing a more healthy athletics and educational environment, we should be committed to education about and prevention of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug misuse among student-athletes, the rehabilitation of student-athletes who suffer alcohol, tobacco or drug dependence, and policies and programs that may result in the prevention of re-occurrence among those student-athletes who have misused alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs.

Following is a model policy governing alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs.  It is not a drug-testing policy or procedure document.  This is a policy sample that should not be used verbatim.  Follow instructions to insert information applicable to your institution and then submit to your legal counsel for review to be sure all elements conform to institutional policy and applicable local, state and federal laws.

(Name of Institution)
Policies and Procedures Regarding Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use

The [superintendent, principal, president, or title of other senior staff member with policy and decision-making authority] has designated [insert title of person designated  as the institution’s “Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator” (hereafter referred to as “Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator”) who shall be responsible for administering the following policies and procedures regarding alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.  It is further expected that the members of the Athletics Department shall work together as a whole to create a culture that discourages the misuse of alcohol, the use of tobacco, and the use of recreational drugs.  The abuse or misuse of recreational and prescription drugs shall be governed under the policies and procedures for Drug Education, Prevention, Testing and Rehabilitation.  The Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator shall provide information regarding the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use policies and procedures.  Any additional programs related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use shall be approved by [indicate institutional committee or title of person] and be consistent with the following policies and procedures.

1.    Non-Discrimination.  [INSTITUTION] shall not discriminate on the basis of age, color, gender, national origin, physical impairment, political affiliation, race, religion, or sexual identity or orientation in the application of the policies and procedures related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. 

2.    Oversight and Administration

2.1. Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator.  The Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator is responsible for disseminating to staff, student-athletes and parents information on this policy and ensuring its implementation.  The Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator is also responsible for acting as a liaison to the health center, physicians, counselors [or school nurse and name additional others appropriate for this institution] or other medical or counseling professionals working in this area.

2.2. Director of Athletic Training.  The Director of Athletic Training is responsible for the oversight of all drug testing protocols.  This includes, but is not limited to collection, storage and disposal of specimens and drug-testing protocols according to the institution’s drug-testing policies and procedures.

2.3. Coaches.  Coaches, including but not limited to head coaches, assistant coaches, and strength/conditioning coaches, are responsible for monitoring and supporting student-athletes in the avoidance of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs.  Coaches are responsible for determining and enforcing team rules in accordance with the policies and procedures listed below.  Coaches support the health of student-athletes by aiding in the identification of suspicious behavior.  Coaches may refer athletes to the Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator for education, testing, and/or rehabilitation.

2.4. Student-athletes.  Student-athletes are responsible for their own alcohol, tobacco and drug-related choices.  Student-athletes are expected to participate in educational programs regarding alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs as a condition of athletics participation. 

2.5. Athletics Governing Bodies.  The Athletics Department policy recognizes and incorporates alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drug use policy and procedure recommendations from the institution’s athletics conference and the [state high school athletic association, NCAA, NAIA, etc.).

3.    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Education

3.1. Alcohol and Tobacco Education. The Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator, working in conjunction with appropriate institutional non-athletics department health officials shall design and implement an alcohol and tobacco education program to be presented in a pre-season meeting for student-athletes, coaches, and administrators.  This educational program may be embedded in the pre-existing drug education program (See Policy and Procedure for Drug Use Education, Prevention, Testing, and Rehabilitation)   This program shall include, but is not limited to the following topics:

3.1.1. Controlled Substances: Information regarding substances that are controlled or prohibited by state and federal law and/or the [NCAA, state high school athletic association or other collegiate national governing body].  Information regarding NCAA [or insert appropriate URL for similar information provided by national governing organization affiliation] drug-testing programs is available at the following link:
http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/policy/drug-testing

3.1.1.1.    Health Consequences of Alcohol Misuse.  Information and resources regarding the prevention of the misuse of alcohol can be found at the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/ and http://www.anellixavier.com/dui-foundation/

3.1.1.2.     Health Consequences of Tobacco Use.   Information and resources regarding the prevention of tobacco use can be found at the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/

3.1.1.3.    Health Consequences of Drug Use. Information regarding the short-term and long-term consequences of drug use for athletic performance, and the social, emotional, and physical health of the student-athlete can be found at the following link: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/DrugFact/index.html 

3.2. Informed Consent. Informed consent for testing for the use of recreational drugs or the misuse of prescription drugs will be documented as outlined in the policies and procedures for Drug Education, Prevention, Testing, and Rehabilitation.

4.    Recreational and Prescription Drug Testing.  The Athletics Department is committed to a comprehensive drug-testing program.  This program will be executed throughout the year, during competitive and off-seasons.  Testing for recreational and prescription drug shall be a part of this program, as outlined  the policies and procedures for Drug Education, Prevention, Testing, and Rehabilitation.  Any student found to be using a recreational or “street” drug, using a prescription drug without a medical prescription for the drug’s use, or using a prescription drug for a purpose other than its intended use will be subject to the sanctions outlined in the policies and procedures for Drug Education, Prevention, Testing, and Rehabilitation (Note:  should be a separate policy).

5.    Tobacco Use.  The Athletics Department recognizes the dangerous health consequences and addictive properties of tobacco use.  To support the health of the student-athletes and employees, the Athletics Department formally discourages the use of all smoking and smokeless tobacco products.
 
5.1. Tobacco use. Student-athletes and all members of the Athletics Department will abide by all institutional, state, and Federal regulations regarding the use of tobacco products. 

5.1.1. Legal Age. State and Federal regulations include limits on the legal age for the purchase, possession, and use of tobacco products.

5.1.2. Proximity to Buildings. Institutional policy forbids the use of tobacco products within and within a certain proximity from all institutional buildings, structures, or facilities.  This includes all athletics facilities and shall be enforced at all outdoor athletics facilities that are on institutional property as if those fields and facilities were buildings themselves.

5.2. Team rules. To encourage healthy practices among student-athletes, coaches are encouraged to establish team rules forbidding the use of tobacco products and sanctions for the use of tobacco products.  The Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator and the Director of Athletics must be provided with a copy of any team rules and sanctions regarding the use of tobacco products. 

6.    Student-Athlete Alcohol Use. MORE STRICT OPTION (NOTE: EITHER SECTION 6 OR SECTION 7 MUST BE USED.  DO NOT USE BOTH SECTION 6 AND 7.  ELIMINATE ONE SECTION BASED ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE INSTITUTION) The Athletics Department discourages the misuse of alcohol among its student-athletes.  Coaches may establish team rules in accordance with the following policies:

6.1. Alcohol use during the preseason, competitive season and post-season. Alcohol use among student-athletes is strictly forbidden during the preseason, competitive, and post-season times. Student-athletes found to be using alcohol during the preseason, competitive and post-season times will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

6.2.  Alcohol use when representing the institution.  Alcohol use among student-athletes is strictly forbidden when representing the institution for events including but not limited to practice sessions, team trips, team travel, banquets, award ceremonies or at non-athletics institutionally sponsored events. Student-athletes found to be using alcohol during institutionally sponsored events will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

6.3. Alcohol use and recruiting [for college programs]. Alcohol is not to be given to recruits during any activity or at any time during the recruiting process.  This includes but is not limited to overnight campus visits. Student-athletes, coaches, and administrators found to be using or allowing the use of alcohol during recruiting activities will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

7.    Student-Athlete Alcohol Use. MORE LENIENT OPTION (NOTE: EITHER SECTION 6 OR SECTION 7 MUST BE USED.  DO NOT USE BOTH SECTION 6 AND 7.  ELIMINATE ONE SECTION BASED ON THE NEEDS AND PREFERENCES OF THE INSTITUTION) The Athletics Department discourages the misuse of alcohol among its student-athletes.  Coaches may establish team rules in accordance with the following policies:

7.1. Alcohol use during the preseason, competitive season and post-season. Alcohol use among student-athletes is strictly forbidden within 48 hours of any practice, workout, scrimmage, or game during the preseason, competitive, and post-season times. Student-athletes found to be using alcohol during the preseason, competitive and post-season times will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

7.1.1. Alcohol use under the legal age. State legislation prohibits the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol among individuals under the age of 21 years [check local and state laws].  Any student-athletes under 21 years of age who attempts to purchase, possess or consume alcohol at any time will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

7.2.  Alcohol use when representing the institution.  Alcohol use among student-athletes is strictly forbidden when representing the institution at events including but not limited to team practices, team trips, team travel, banquets, award ceremonies or at non-athletics institutionally  sponsored events. Student-athletes found to be using alcohol during institutionally sponsored events will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

7.3. Alcohol use and recruiting. Alcohol is not to be given to recruits during any part of the recruiting process.  This includes but is not limited to overnight campus visits. Student-athletes, coaches, and administrators found to be using or allowing the use of alcohol during recruiting activities will be subject to sanctions as detailed in Section 8.

8.    Sanctions for Alcohol-related Violations. Student-athletes found using alcohol in violation of the policies listed above will be subject to the following sanctions:

8.1. Alcohol-related Arrests. Any student athlete arrested for a legal violation involving the misuse of alcohol, including but not limited to charges such as possession of alcohol under the legal age, operating while intoxicated, driving under the influence, alcohol-related disorderly conduct, public intoxication, public urination [legal counsel must confirm wording to be in accordance with current state and local legislation] will be treated as having had a positive drug-test result.  Athletics Department sanctions for alcohol-related arrests will follow those specified in the policies and procedures for Drug Education, Prevention, Testing and Rehabilitation. 

8.1.1. Alternative Sanctions. Based on the severity of the infraction, alcohol-related arrests may result in the immediate suspension of the student-athlete from all athletics functions.  The necessity for alternative sanctions shall be determined based on the joint consultation of the head coach, the Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator, and the Director of Athletics (or designee with policy-making authority).  Together, these individuals may determine alternative sanctions including but not limited to the following:

8.1.1.1.     Suspension from practice and/or for the remainder of the season.
8.1.1.2.     Suspension from strength and conditioning for the remainder of the season.
8.1.1.3.     Suspension of athletic-related financial aid.
8.1.1.4.     Permanent suspension from participating in the athletics program.
8.1.1.5.     Referral to alcohol rehabilitation programs.

8.2. Violation of Alcohol Policies Not Resulting in Arrests.  Coaches are encouraged to develop team rules in accordance with Athletics Department policies regarding alcohol misuse.  Any student-athlete involved in behavior that violates the policies regarding alcohol misuse is subject to the following sanctions:

8.2.1. First offense.  Following a first offense, the head coach, the Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator, and the Director of Athletics (or designee with policy-making authority) shall address the problem by meeting with the student-athlete to discuss institution and team policies regarding alcohol misuse.  The head coach has the option of imposing temporary suspension.

8.2.2. Second offense.  Following a second offense, the following sanctions shall be imposed:

8.2.2.1.     Mandatory meeting with the head coach and Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator.
8.2.2.2.     Mandatory suspension of a minimum of 10% of the competitive season.
8.2.2.3.     Optional referral to alcohol abuse rehabilitation counseling.

8.2.3. Third offense.  Following a third offense, the following sanctions shall be imposed:

8.2.3.1.     Mandatory meeting with the head coach and Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator.
8.2.3.2.     Mandatory suspension of a minimum of 50% of the competitive season.
8.2.3.3.     Mandatory referral to and attendance of alcohol abuse rehabilitation counseling.

8.2.4. Fourth offense.  Following a fourth offense, the following sanctions shall be imposed:

8.2.4.1.     Mandatory meeting with the head coach and Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator.
8.2.4.2.     Mandatory suspension from participation in athletics of a minimum of one full academic year.
8.2.4.3.    Optional loss of athletics-related financial aid [for college athletics programs].
8.2.4.4.     Mandatory referral to and attendance of alcohol abuse rehabilitation counseling.
8.2.4.5.     Written release from qualified alcohol abuse rehabilitation counselor for student-athlete to return to participation.   

9.    Appeals.  Student-athletes have the right to appeal sanctions.  If a student-athlete believes 1) that she/he was innocent of the alcohol related violation, or that 2) sanction(s) should not be implemented, she/he may file a written appeal within 15 days of receiving notice of imposition of sanctions.

9.1. Documentation. The student-athlete must provide a written appeal with copies delivered to the head coach, the Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator and the Director of Athletics. 

9.2. Content. This appeal must include documented reasons and evidence why the student-athlete believes that she/he was innocent of the alcohol-related violation or the sanction(s) should not be implemented.

10.    Self-Referral for Alcohol Dependence. The Athletics Department at [INSTITUTION] encourages healthy practices on the part of all student-athletes.  These healthy practices include recovery from alcohol dependence and abuse problems.  If a student-athlete self-refers for alcohol dependence counseling, rehabilitation, and support, she/he will not be subject to the sanctions outlined in section 8 of this policy, subject to the following conditions and procedures.

10.1. Procedures.

10.1.1. Number of times used. To prevent abuse of this policy, student-athletes may self-refer only once during their athletics career.
 
10.1.2. Student-athlete responsibilities.  Student-athletes may, without fear of penalty:

10.1.2.1.     Disclose an alcohol dependence problem to his or her head coach, the Drug Education Prevention Coordinator or other appropriate school health official who shall inform the athletics department of such disclosure.
10.1.2.2.     Ask appropriate officials (e.g., the head coach, the Drug Education Prevention Coordinator, or other appropriate school health official) to facilitate alcohol dependence counseling, rehabilitation, and support.
10.1.2.3.     Seek and participate in alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation not facilitated by athletics officials.
10.1.2.4.     Disclose participation in alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation to athletics officials.
10.1.2.5.     Provide documentation of recovery from alcohol dependence to athletics officials.

10.1.3. Head Coach, Drug Education Prevention Coordinator, and Athletic Department Responsibilities. If a student-athlete discloses an alcohol dependence problem and asks for support in rehabilitation, the Athletics Department and its representatives are responsible for responding in the following manner:

10.1.3.1.    Offer no sanctions for a first-time self-referral.
10.1.3.2.    Seek out and facilitate appropriate alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation resources utilizing credential service providers not within the Athletics Department.
10.1.3.3.    Obtain appropriate documentation of alcohol dependence rehabilitation.
10.1.3.4.    Support the self-referring student-athlete’s return to participation following successful alcohol dependence rehabilitation.

11.    Program and Testing Costs

11.1. Alcohol Dependence Counseling and Rehabilitation

11.1.1. Department Expense.  The Athletics Department will pay for expenses incurred for alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation when:

11.1.1.1.    Counseling can be obtained through institutional programs (e.g., University or School District Counseling Services).
11.1.1.2.    The student-athlete is in the first, second, or third offenses.
11.1.1.3.    The student-athlete self-refers.

11.1.2. Student Expense.  If referral to an off-campus facility is necessary or preferred by the student-athlete, the student-athlete will assume the costs of treatment.

11.1.3. Student Expense for Fourth Offense.  The Athletics Department will not pay for expenses incurred for alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation for fourth offenses. 

12.    Alcohol Use on Institution Property [Omit or modify this section as necessary to match Institutional policies].   Institutional policy strictly forbids the sale, possession, or consumption of alcohol on institutional property or at institutionally sponsored events on or off campus. 

13.    Alcohol Use By Athletics Department Employees [Omit or modify this section as necessary to match Institutional policies].  Institutional policy strictly forbids the sale, possession, storage, or consumption of alcohol while employees are at work or on the job.  The Athletics Department may sanction employees who sell, possess, store, or consume alcohol while at work [modify to match institutional policy] by immediate removal from duty, referral to alcohol dependence counseling and rehabilitation programs, mandatory completion of alcohol dependence and rehabilitation programs, and/or termination of employment.

-- by Christine H.B. Grant, Ph.D., Senior Associate, Sports Management Resources