Drug & Alcohol Policy

Bristol Community College is committed to maintaining a drug free work and learning environment for employees and students. This Drug and Alcohol policy is established to provide required information and guidance for all college employees and students.

Scope of Policy

On December 12, 1989, Congress amended Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965. This amendment, known as the “Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989” requires that every educational institution receiving federal funding certify its adoption and implementation of programs designed to prevent use of illegal drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees. Prior federal law applicable to the College regulated only criminal drug activity of federally grant-funded employees and recipients of federal aid.

Bristol Community College, in accordance with legal mandates and its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive environment in which to conduct the business and mission of the College, will enforce the following policies:

  1. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of alcohol, except as provided in Section 4 herein, or of a controlled substance is prohibited on the campuses of Bristol Community College including while using a motor vehicle owned or leased by the College, or as a part of any College-related activity. Students or employees who violate these restrictions shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including, suspension, expulsion or discharge and shall also be subject to referral for criminal prosecution. Where students or employees are convicted of violating a criminal drug or alcohol statute related to a College activity, the College shall ordinarily expel or discharge the offender absent mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, considerations of disability under federal and state law.
  2. Bristol Community College shall cooperate in the enforcement of federal, state and local laws concerning illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts statutes pertaining to illegal drugs and alcohol include:
    1. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C (Controlled Substances Act)
    2. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 59 (Public Drinking)
    3. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24 (Operating Under the Influence, Open Containers)
  3. Prescribed penalties under Chapter 94 range from mandatory probation for a first conviction for possession of a class E substance, e.g. marijuana, to a period of imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each subsequent conviction related to sale or distribution. Prescribed penalties under Chapter 90, Section 24 range from a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) to imprisonment for not more than two years and a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). Federal judicial guidelines also exist which imposes penalties for violation of federal criminal statutes related to drugs and alcohol. Other towns within the College’s service area may have similar or additional penalties in place related to alcohol and drug use.
  4. Under-age drinking is prohibited at Bristol Community College functions and on any part of the College campuses.
  5. No alcoholic beverages may be consumed, served, sold or stored by students, guests, invitees, educators, administrators or executives of the College at any of the College campuses or satellites or in any motor vehicle owned or leased by Bristol Community College without the advance (not less than 90 days) written approval of the College President. The College requires a liquor permit when serving alcohol. This permit is attained by having Campus Police submit a liquor application with the City or town the function is being held. Since the licensing board at each City or Town only meets once a month, the application for this license should be submitted at least 60 days before the function. All events where alcohol is desired to be served must have the President’s approval. If, after having secured the required written approval, alcohol is served or sold by anyone, then it must be served or sold strictly in accordance with applicable state law. All arrangements for the delivery, service, sale, storage and removal of alcoholic beverages at the education campuses or satellites of Bristol Community College shall be coordinated with the Vice President of Administration and Finance who shall identify and retain the name of the responsible person.
  6. Employees working under federally funded grants are additionally subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. The Act creates the following obligations:
    1. Employees convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify the Executive Director of Human Resources of Bristol Community College no later than five (5) days after such conviction. Such notification must be in writing.
    2. The College shall notify the appropriate federal agency within ten (10) days after receiving notice from the employee regarding such conviction. Such notification will be in writing.
    3. The College within thirty (30) days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee who is convicted, will:
      1. Take appropriate disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination of employment, consistent with the requirements of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended: or
      2. Require such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a Federal, State, or local health, law enforcement or other appropriate agency.
  7. The College will present campus-wide drug and alcohol education programs on an annual basis. This is in addition to other educational opportunities available in current or future academic offerings. Drug/Alcohol Abuse Education and Prevention Programs and Assistance are offered through the College Health Services Office. Confidential, individual counseling and referral services are available to any student or employee who seeks assistance. The Coordinator of Health Services, Carol Constantine, R.N, and Director of Counseling, Michael Bensink are available to provide support services and counseling. They can be reached at 508.678.2811 ext. 2232 and ext. 2379 respectively.
  8. The following medical risks are associated with drug and alcohol use. (a) Overdose An overdose can happen due to uncertain purity, strength or even type of drug one may get illegally. It can also happen due to increased tolerance, because one needs increased dosages to achieve the same effect. An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma or death. While the risks of drug overdose are more common and frequently, more severe, extreme quantities of alcohol can similarly result in psychosis, convulsions, coma or death.
    1. Overdose
      An overdose can happen due to uncertain purity, strength or even type of drug one may get illegally. It can also happen due to increased tolerance, because one needs increased dosages to achieve the same effect. An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma or death. While the risks of drug overdose are more common and frequently, more severe, extreme quantities of alcohol can similarly result in psychosis, convulsions, coma or death.
    2. Dependence
      Continued use of drugs or alcohol can lead to psychological and/or physical need for them.
    3. Ill Health
      Long-term drug or alcohol use can destroy a healthy body and mind. Generally, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to organ damage, mental illness, malnutrition, failure to get treatment for existing diseases or injuries, and even to death. Chronic drinking also has been associated with increased rates for heart disease, liver damage, ulcers and gastritis, and adrenal and pituitary gland damage. Injection of drugs presents special risks of getting AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases.
      Drug and alcohol use can also affect the health of a child in the womb and result in birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug dependency or death. Because the quantity of alcohol likely to injure a developing fetus is unknown, the United States Surgeon General has specifically counseled women not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy.
    4. Accidents
      When drugs or alcohol affect an individual’s perception and/or reaction time, accidents become more likely.
  9. For any member of the Bristol Community College community who is experiencing substance abuse problems, the College stands ready to offer confidential supportive services and referral for treatment, as appropriate and available. Information concerning substance abuse and rehabilitation counseling programs and the applicability of employee and student insurance is available through the following College offices: Health Services, Counseling, and Human Resources.
    Additionally, the State Department of Public Health, Division of Substance Abuse provides an information and referral hotline (800.327.5050) (TDD 617.547.2111) to provide confidential assistance.
  10. Treatment covered by required medical insurance
    Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15A, ‘7B (St. 1988, Chapter 23, ‘22) and 117 Code of Massachusetts Regulations Section 3.04 require that students taking nine (9) or more credits per semester certify their participation in a qualifying student health insurance program, or in a health benefits’ program with comparable coverage. Students who do not possess adequate medical insurance must purchase the Massachusetts Regional Community Colleges’ Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan. This plan provides the following benefits related to drug and alcohol abuse:
    Hospital Confinement Benefits
    Drug Abuse Benefit – When a covered person is confined in a legally operated and duly accredited public or private facility for the care and treatment of drug abuse, the Company will pay the same benefits provided for other illnesses, not to exceed 30 days for the treatment of drug abuse, subject to the policy aggregate maximum benefit of $ 25,000.00.
    Non-Hospital Confinement Benefits
    Mental Illness, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Benefit – The Company will pay for treatment by a fully licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or independent clinical social worker, not to exceed fifty ($50) per visit, for an aggregate benefit of five hundred dollars ($500), during the policy period for treatment of a mental or nervous condition or disorder, or for alcoholism or drug abuse.
    Bristol Community College Drug and Alcohol Policy Approved: April 2, 2012
    Note: The State Health Insurance Program(s) provide employee coverage for alcohol and drug abuse benefits. Contact your benefit plan or the Human Resources Office for information and assistance.
  11. The College shall conduct a biennial review of these policies and programs and implement changes as necessary.
  12. For information on how drug convictions can affect your Federal Student Aid, Federal Financial Aid Penalty for Drug Law Violations.