University of Montana Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention:
Policies, Programs, and Resources for Students and Employees

Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs - 2016 

This information is also referenced in UM’s 2016 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, available at


A.   Alcohol and Drug Policies and Programs
B.   Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Education Programs
C.   Drug and Alcohol Resources for Students and Employees
D.   Health Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs

A.   Alcohol and Drug Policies and Programs

In compliance with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, this page contains the University of Montana policies and applicable laws and penalties related to the use, possession, and distribution of alcohol and other drugs; information about the risks and effects of drug and alcohol use and dependence; and resources to assist students, faculty, and staff who may be having a problem with alcohol or drugs.  You are encouraged to read this page in its entirety as each member of the campus community is responsible for complying with University of Montana policy and applicable laws.

For All Members of the UM Community

The University of Montana’s policies on alcohol and other drugs reflect federal and state law and impose sanctions for violations by students, faculty, and staff. 

Alcoholic Beverages
Except for students age 21 or older who are allowed to consume and possess alcohol in their University apartments or assigned rooms in the residence halls, it is a violation of the UM Alcohol Policy for anyone to consume or possess alcohol in any public or private area of campus without prior University approval.  It is illegal to sell, furnish, or provide alcohol to any person under the age of 21 years of age.  The possession of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 in a public place is illegal.  UM alcohol policies are available at

UM’s campus is designated "drug free."  The possession, manufacture, sale, or distribution of any controlled substance is illegal under both state and federal laws.

Such laws are enforced by UMPD.  Violators are subject to potential University disciplinary action, criminal prosecution, fines, and/or imprisonment.

A summary of state and federal drug and alcohol laws and associated penalties, including penalties for impaired driving in Montana, Montana drug-related laws, and federal drug penalties associated with possession of a controlled substance, can be found on the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs website at 

For Employees

UM Human Resource Services publishes a Drug-Free Workplace policy and procedure as well as a Drug & Alcohol Testing policy and procedure that are sent to all UM employees annually.  In addition, HR provides notice on its website that employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with personnel policy or collective bargaining agreements. 

All current and prospective employees are encouraged to review these policies, as well as the University’s alcohol policies.  All are available at the following links:

UM Faculty and Staff Drug-Free Workplace policy and procedures:

UM Faculty and Staff Drug and Alcohol Testing policy and procedures:

University alcohol policies:

For Students

UM students must also abide by the University of Montana Student Conduct Code, available at  The Dean of Students also sends out an annual notice at the beginning of the year to students reminding them of the Student Conduct Code and their responsibility as citizens of the community to familiarize themselves with University rules and policies. 

Students should also review and understand all of the University alcohol and drug policies, which are referenced in the Student Conduct Code and available at  

The UM Student Conduct Code specifically prohibits the following behavior, section (VI. A. 11):

     11.  Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages on University premises or at University-sponsored activities except as permitted by University policies

Students must also abide by all local, state, and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol as enforced by law enforcement. 

Students in University Housing
In addition to the Student Conduct Code, students living in University housing must abide by all rules and policies enforced by the Residence Life Office.  The Associate Director of Student Conduct & Programs for Residence Life is responsible for enforcing and sanctioning drug and alcohol violations in the residence halls and University housing.

Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) & Recognized Student Groups
The Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) also provides information for students on their website (  ASUM states on their website that personnel and Student Conduct Code action will be taken against any student or ASUM employee who violates the University’s drug and alcohol policies.  Recognized student groups and student organizations are also held accountable for University drug and alcohol policies through ASUM and they may also be held accountable by the Dean of Students under the Student Conduct Code.

Fraternities and Sororities
For fraternities and sororities at UM, the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages at residential houses and any official group functions must conform to policies established by the Board of Regents and UM, the Fraternity and Sorority Mutual Relationship Agreement, and their national chapters, local ordinances, and state and federal laws.  The UM Fraternity and Sorority Mutual Relationship Agreement is available at

Disciplinary Actions and Possible Sanctions for Students
When a student violates the UM Student Conduct Code, the University may initiate disciplinary action resulting in a sanction.  Possible sanctions, depending on the severity of the violation, could include disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, and/or community service. 

Students who violate University policies are also likely to be referred to the Behavioral Health Options Program offered through the Curry Health Center (, described in more detail below. Repeated violations of the Student Conduct Code could result in more severe disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion.

Medical Marijuana

Although Montana state law permits the use of medical marijuana, i.e. use by persons possessing lawfully issued medical marijuana cards, federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession, and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds.  The use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is therefore not allowed in University housing or on any other UM property, nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus.

In the event an illegal alcohol or drug-related incident involving an employee or student occurs, the University will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies and will determine appropriate internal disciplinary actions. Individuals who violate University policies, city ordinances, and/or state or federal laws are subject to disciplinary action according to the UM Student Conduct Code, the Fraternity and Sorority Mutual Relationship Agreement, and relevant UM personnel policies. Student sanctions under the Student Conduct Code may include disciplinary warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, restitution, and/or community service, as well as required attendance at educational programs.  Employees who violate policies will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with personnel policies, collective bargaining agreements, and local, state, or federal laws.  Employees could be subject to termination and/or criminal prosecution.  

The University's medical marijuana policy is available at

Tobacco Free UM  

UM also works to provide a safe and healthy environment for its employees, students, and visitors with regard to exposure to secondhand smoke.  In light of the U.S. Surgeon General's findings that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and use of tobacco cause significant health hazards, UM became a tobacco-free environment 2011.  Students found in violation of the tobacco free policy may be referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.  Employees found in violation of the tobacco free policy may be referred to HR for appropriate follow-up.  The Tobacco Free UM policy is available at

B.   Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Education Programs

Programs for Students

Mandatory Online Tutorial for All New Students – AlcoholEdu
AlcoholEdu is an online prevention education program provided by EverFi, a national company that provides prevention education programs in several areas, including drug and alcohol use and abuse, campus sexual assault, and financial literacy.  AlcoholEdu provides information on the use and effects of alcohol as well as prevention and risk-reduction tips.  Part 1 takes approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete.  Students may take Part 2 after an intersession period designed to provide the institution an opportunity to assess behavioral/attitudinal change over time. 

All incoming students at UM are required to take both Parts 1 and 2 of AlcoholEdu, including incoming undergraduate students, transfer students, and graduate students.  Failure to complete AlcoholEdu is tied to a registration hold for the following semester. 

Mandatory Online Tutorial for All New Students – PETSA
All incoming students, including undergraduate, transfer, and graduate students, are also required to take an online tutorial called Personal Empowerment through Self-Awareness (PETSA).  The tutorial provides information about UM policies and procedures prohibiting sexual misconduct, information about the risks posed by drugs and alcohol, information about bystander intervention, and detailed information about consent.

Orientation “Slice of Life” Skits and Follow-Up Discussions
The UM Advocates present skits at summer orientations to new students that address topics including alcohol, sexual assault, and campus resources.   The skits are followed by separate panel presentations for parents (facilitated by UM staff and administrators) and students (facilitated by UM Advocates) to process the information presented, answer questions, and ensure that new students and parents have complete and current information about campus resources.  

Behavioral Health Options Program
The Behavioral Health Options Program, offered through the Curry Health Center, works with students in both 1:1 and group settings to address concerning behaviors, especially related to drug and/or alcohol use, that are making it difficult for them to reach their goals, or behaviors that are negatively affecting those around them.  The mission of the program is to educate and motivate students to proactively and positively address these high-risk behaviors.  The program offers individual sessions and group programs led by trained interns or professionals that are designed to target risky substance use behavior.  Staff also offer formal behavioral assessments.  For more information visit

Resident Assistant (RA) Training – Information about Behavioral Health Options Program
During RA training each fall and spring, staff members from the Curry Health Center provide training for all Resident Assistants about the Behavioral Health Options Program offered through Curry Health,, which provides 1:1 and group settings for students to address concerning behaviors, especially related to drug and/or alcohol use, that are making it difficult for them to reach their goals, or behaviors that are negatively affecting those around them.  The program is also used for discipline referral, through the Residence Life Office or the Dean of Students, for students who violate University policies or local laws related to drug or alcohol use.

Resident Assistant (RA) Training – General Information about Alcohol, Drugs & Campus Resources  
During RA training each fall and spring, professional staff members from the Curry Health Center and Residence Life also provide current and timely information to RAs about drug and alcohol use on a college campus, including current trends in use and abuse, prevention education strategies, and detailed information about campus resources for student referrals.

Resident Assistant (RA) Training – Behind Closed Doors
RA training each fall and spring before the new semester begins culminates in a  role-play activity in which new RAs are required to respond to various scenarios that they will likely encounter with residence hall students.  Scenarios include topics such as drug or alcohol use, partying, unhealthy choices, peer pressure, and risks associated with unhealthy choices related alcohol or drug use.  The role-plays are facilitated by trained professional staff from Residence Life and the Curry Health Center.  Information about the campus discipline system in response to violations of University alcohol/drug policies, and information about campus resources and referrals for students struggling with drug or alcohol use or abuse is emphasized.

Beer Goggles – Alcohol, Healthy Relationships, and Sexual Assault
Beer Goggles is a multimedia presentation created by Student Wellness at Curry Health Center.  It is an educational program that uses video and live performances by students telling their personal stories that is designed to address topics including alcohol and drug use and abuse among college students, healthy relationships, sexual assault, and relevant campus resources.  Beer Goggles is presented in the fall to all incoming first-year students during the first two weeks of school.  UM has presented the program at national conferences to rave reviews. 

Step Up – Residence Life Program
Step up is a program presented by the Residence Life Office each fall to all incoming residence hall students.  The program is grounded in bystander intervention philosophy and presents information about a wide array of situations where students are encouraged to stand up and say something when they see anything that is not right.  Scenarios cover such topics as alcohol use, drug use, sexual assault, and mental health. 

Know Your Rights Panel – Sponsored by the Student Involvement Network
This student-planned program provided in Fall 2015 offered a panel discussion on the rights of UM students. The intended audience was the entire campus community; presenters included UM police officers, University conduct professionals, and local attorneys.  The discussion was structured to cover topics including drug and alcohol consumption and associated risks, laws and relevant University policies related to drug and alcohol use, penalties and consequences for drug and alcohol violations under the University conduct process, penalties and consequences for violations through the local criminal justice process, and risks associated with illegal drug and alcohol use.  Panel members also discussed UM’s policies on amnesty for students who find themselves in situations of needing to seek help for themselves or friends for medical emergencies while under the influence. 

Peers Reaching Out (PRO) Programs on Alcohol, Drugs, Healthy Sexuality, and Sexual Violence
Peers Reaching Out (PROs) are peer educators through the Curry Health Center who present numerous programs to student audiences throughout the year on topics including alcohol use and abuse, drug use and abuse, and healthy sexuality.  PROs present programs to residence hall audiences, and University classes.   They also present a Wellness Series for the campus community.

Students may become PROs by taking a 3-credit class, “Introduction to Peer Health Education,” that addresses health topics impacting college students such as drug and alcohol use and abuse, safer sex, healthy relationships, mental health, suicide prevention, stress management, and sexual violence.

Residence Hall Floor Talks  
Resident Assistants offer floor talks at least once each semester for all students living in the residence halls.  RA presenters provide policy information to students about the use of alcohol and drugs, with an emphasis on consequences associated with violations of University policy or local laws that can result in disciplinary consequences under the UM Student Conduct Code and/or citations through UMPD or the Missoula Police Department.

DUI Prevention Education
UMPD officers, Resident Assistants and Curry Wellness share in programs designed to teach about the effects of alcohol on judgment and driving, alcohol tolerance, and myths versus realities in alcohol use and driving.  Students also have opportunities to participate in simulation DUI field sobriety tests; they may try different goggles representing different levels of intoxication to learn first-hand about the effects of alcohol impairment.  UMPD offers these programs to students upon request. 

Choose Your Ride – Drinking and Driving
This program is presented by Curry Wellness and is designed to teach students about all the possible “ride” options that might result from choices related to drinking and driving.  Police cars, ambulances, taxis, the UM U-Dash bus, and cars are all presented to educate students about drinking and driving.  Program presenters also provide resources about local designated-driver programs. 

Alcohol Poisoning and Bystander Intervention Poster Campaign
Curry Wellness sponsored a poster campaign for the campus community designed to educate about signs of alcohol poisoning and encourage bystander intervention and seeking help for friends who may be in trouble.

Fresh Air Crew
Peer educators through Curry Wellness also participate in outreach to raise awareness about smoking and tobacco use in support of the Tobacco Free UM campus policy.  Students from the Fresh Air Crew may talk with people who are violating the Tobacco Free policy and refer them for appropriate follow-up under the policy. 

Social Media Outreach and Health Nut Newsletter
UM has worked over the years to develop and deliver prevention education and healthy lifestyle information through Curry Wellness that is current, reflects national best practices, and meets the needs of students.  Social media campaigns are strategically planned and created to address not only drug and alcohol use and abuse, but also topics that impact student success such as stress management, sex, and healthy relationships.  Curry Wellness uses Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter to disseminate messages to students, and also offers an online blog called Health Nut.  All social media is created by students, for students, and the campaigns have been very effective in reaching more followers than previous in-person presentations.

Programs for Employees

Information at New Faculty Orientation
New faculty members are provided information at New Faculty Orientation about the University drug and alcohol resources and policies as well as the Tobacco Free UM policy.

Information at New Employee Orientation about Tobacco Free UM
All new employees are provided information at New Employee Orientation about the Tobacco Free UM policy and tobacco cessation resources. 

Staff Senate Programs on Wellness
UM’s Staff Senate hosted a series of development programs for staff designed to encourage healthy lifestyles on topics related to meditation and mindfulness.   Curry Wellness also presented a session to Staff Senate about Tobacco Free UM.

Training for UC Staff
Curry Wellness staff presented a fall training to employees and staff members in the University Center (UC) about the Tobacco Free UM policy and tobacco cessation resources. 

Presentation for the University Council on Wellness and Health Risk Behaviors
Curry Wellness staff presented a session for the University Council, which is open to any faculty or staff member in the campus community, on student wellness, identifying behaviors that put students’ health at risk, and the relationship of risky behaviors to student success.  Advice, guidance, and referral resources were provided. 

UM Participation in Community Outreach Programs

Missoula DUI Task Force
University staff members from Curry Wellness and other UM faculty participate regularly in the Missoula DUI Task Force, which plans and implements strategies to reduce drinking and driving in Missoula County. 

Additional Community and State Task Forces
Staff from the Curry Health Center also participate on several other committees and task forces in Missoula.  These included the Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Prevention Group and the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.  Curry Wellness also participates in a statewide task force for the Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative, which is a group of professionals from colleges and universities across the state who meet to talk about issues associated with tobacco.   

C.   Drug and Alcohol Resources for Students and Employees

Drug and Alcohol Resources for Students

Individual and Group Counseling, Counseling Services at the Curry Health Center
Counseling Services in the Curry Health Center provides both individual and group counseling for any student struggling with personal issues associated with drug and/or alcohol use or abuse.  There are four licensed addictions counselors on staff with drug and alcohol use as a specialty; all other providers are trained in addictions and co-occurring disorders.  Counselors ask about drug or alcohol issues and will also screen for tobacco cessation if that might be an issue.  There is also a sobriety group.   Counselors make referrals to appropriate providers off-campus, including to local and community mutual help support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Behavioral Health Options Program
The Behavioral Health Options Program, offered through the Curry Health Center, works with students in both 1:1 and group settings to address concerning behaviors, especially related to drug and/or alcohol use, that are making it difficult for them to reach their goals, or behaviors that are negatively affecting those around them.  The mission of the program is to educate and motivate students to proactively and positively address these high-risk behaviors.  The program offers individual sessions and group programs led by trained interns or professionals that are designed to target risky substance use behavior.  Staff also offer formal behavioral assessments.  For more information visit

Student Health Fair & Health Screenings
Curry Wellness sponsors a Student Health Fair that is held in November of every year in the University Center.  The purpose of the fair is to provide information and resources about alcohol and drug use and abuse, tobacco, healthy eating, healthy sexuality, exercise, and fitness.  Health screenings are also offered to students. 

Tobacco Use and Cessation Programs
Curry Wellness offers several resources for students for tobacco cessation.  These include Quit Kits, which are available to all students who are trying to quit chew or smoke tobacco, 1:1 consultations with staff, and referrals to the Montana Quit Line for free or reduced-fee tobacco cessation products. 

Health Coaching at Curry Health Center
Curry Health Center offers students six weeks of individual, hour-long health coaching sessions with trained undergraduate peer coaches, many of whom are Community Health majors.  Students can self-refer or be referred from the medical clinic, Counseling Services, or Disability Services for Students.  The sessions are self-directed, meaning the client provides input on what he or she wants to work on.  They are designed to address any health-related behaviors that students want to improve or reduce.  Popular topics include healthy lifestyle, stress management, time management, healthy sleep, unhealthy drug or alcohol use, and eating well.  Initial results from program evaluations indicate very positive outcomes for students. 

Drug and Alcohol Resources for Employees

Four Free Counseling Sessions for Employees
UM employees are eligible for four free, confidential sessions with an in-network counselor for any issues that may be causing stress or disruption.  The four sessions are available each plan year and can be for any issue including family, personal, work, or health, or other issues.  To locate an in-network counselor, employees are instructed to contact their insurance administrator directly.  More information about this benefit is also available through Human Resources Services. 

Employee Medical Benefits for Inpatient & Outpatient Treatment 
Inpatient and outpatient benefits for chemical dependency are available to all Montana University System (MUS) employees through medical benefits.  More information is in UM’s Choices Annual Benefits Enrollment Workbook, page 10, at

Online Program for Employee Wellness – Offered through MUS Wellness Office
WellCheck is a program offered through the MUS Wellness program that provides all MUS employees the opportunity to obtain valuable health screenings such as blood tests, pressure checks, and other biometric screenings.  WellCheck is offered once or twice each campus per plan year and is available to employees, retirees, spouses, and adult children (18 or older) who are covered by a MUS medical insurance plan.  MUS plan members are eligible to receive two free Comprehensive Screening Packages per insurance plan year; other screenings are available at cost.

Additional information about the MUS WellCheck program is available at

MUS Wellness Incentive Program
As part of a wellness incentive program, the MUS system issues a challenge to employees to curb their drinking over the holidays.  Points are provided towards rewards for accomplishing that goal.  Possible rewards include Fitbits or money in a tax-advantaged account.

Take Control Program – Curry Wellness
Take Control is a program offered through Curry Wellness at UM and the MUS Wellness program that provides support and counseling for tobacco cessation.  Information for employees is provided in the UM Choices benefits book. 

Smokebusters Program – Clinical Psychology Center    
The Clinical Psychology Center, through the Department of Psychology, provides a program called Smokebusters.  This program provides counseling, coaching, and support to help people reduce their tobacco use or quit altogether.  Psychologists help develop the motivation, confidence, and skills to reduce dependence on tobacco, using proven behavioral approaches to tobacco cessation.  

D.   Health Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs

The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol carry dangerous physical, emotional and psychological consequences including dependence, impaired judgment and coordination, increased aggression and violence, memory and speech problems, feelings of panic, confusion, paranoia and loss of control, permanent damage to vital organs, and death.  Please read below for some of the major effects of drug and alcohol use and refer to the resources in Section C for more information.


  • Impairs judgment and coordination
  • Hinders ability to learn and remember information
  • Increases aggression and abusive acts
  • High doses causes dependence, respiratory depression or death
  • Withdrawal causes anxiety, nausea, hallucinations and convulsions
  • Damages vital organs, such as the liver, permanently
  • May lead to fetal alcohol syndrome when consumed by pregnant women

Cannabis (Marijuana)

  • Reduces short-term memory and comprehension
  • Produces paranoia and psychosis
  • Damages lungs and respiratory system with inhalation of carcinogenic smoke
  • Alters sense of time
  • Dangerously increases heart rate

Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD)

  • Causes sense of distance and space estrangement, illusions and hallucinations
  • Creates persistent memory problems and speech difficulties
  • Induces violent episodes that result in self-inflicted injuries
  • Produces negative psychological effects such as panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control
  • Results in side effects such as dizziness, weakness, tremor nausea and drowsiness

Narcotics (Codeine, morphine, opium, heroin)

  • Produces feelings of euphoria followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting
  • Creates constricted pupils, watery eyes and itching
  • Can be deadly in overdose, causing shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions and death
  • Promotes the transmission of AIDS, endocarditis and hepatitis through use of unsterilized syringes


  • Causes constant stuffy, runny nose and possible perforated nasal septum
  • Produces dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature, followed by depression
  • Is extremely addictive and can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, convulsions and death

Designer Drugs (Ecstasy)

  • Hundreds of times stronger than the drugs they’re designed to imitate
  • Causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease including tremors, drooling, impaired speech
  • Can cause brain damage with as little as one dose

Stimulants (Speed, crystal meth, Ritalin)

  • Produces elevated blood pressure and heart rates, decreased appetite, perspiration, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety
  • Causes physical collapse in high doses
  • Can result in amphetamine psychosis in long-term users, which includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia

Inhalants (Whippets, laughing gas, buzz bombs)

  • Are mixtures of volatile substances, which makes it difficult to be specific about effects
  • Can cause nausea, sneezing, coughing, nose bleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, loss of appetite and involuntary passing of urine and feces
  • May result in hepatitis, brain damage, nervous system damage, weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance and muscle weakness with long-term use

Depressants (Downers, Valium, Quaaludes)

  • Have similar effects to alcohol
  • Causes calmness in small amounts, slurred speech and staggering gait in large doses
  • Can cause dependence with serious withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia, convulsions and death