Drug & Alcohol Policy
Rocky Mountain College recognizes the problems of alcohol and drug abuse as they occur on a societal scale today. The abuse of alcohol, particularly on college campuses, is a growing problem.
Rocky Mountain College neither encourages nor condemns the use of alcoholic beverages. Rather, the College acknowledges the right of individuals of legal drinking age either to abstain or to use alcohol responsibly.
Rocky Mountain College believes the key to successful control of alcohol and drug use lies in education, providing healthy alternatives, and supporting and promoting healthy lifestyles. To this end, the College is committed to:
- Providing students and employees with the most current information available regarding alcohol and drug use;
- Developing and implementing substance-free social programming; and
- Encouraging and supporting those students and employees who choose to abstain from the use of alcohol.
It is the responsibility of Rocky Mountain College to provide a drug-free environment that promotes healthy alternatives, supports the standards set forth in this document, and allows for individual choice either to abstain from or to use alcohol responsibly.
The College believes the following standards represent healthy attitudes toward the use of alcohol:
- The use of alcohol is a personal choice. No one should be pressured to drink or not to drink or to feel uneasy or embarrassed when abstaining, regardless of his or her personal choice.
- Alcohol is not essential for the enjoyment of family, social events, or celebrations.
- Drinking should not be an activity for its own sake, but can be an adjunct to other activities.
- The use of alcohol at luncheons or meetings during working hours or the class day is unhealthy.
- Excessive drinking that leads to intoxication is not healthy, safe, or socially acceptable.
- Intoxication should not be laughed at or taken lightly, but should be considered irresponsible behavior and indicative of possible personal problems that need treatment.
- Everyone who chooses to use alcohol should know his or her limits of moderation.
As such, consumption of alcoholic beverages at Rocky Mountain College, or an RMC-sponsored event, is strictly prohibited except:
- For those events approved to serve alcohol by the appropriate division or department head (contact the vice president for student life for details regarding approval procedures).
- For students twenty-one (21) years-of-age or older, in the privacy of their Jorgenson Hall residence room. NOTE: Regardless of age, alcohol is strictly prohibited in Anderson, Rimview, and Widenhouse Halls.
In compliance with Montana state law, no one under the age of twenty-one (21) shall be allowed to consume or possess alcoholic beverages on campus. Further, minors are reminded that Montana state law forbids the possession and/or consumption of alcohol within the state. Violations of state alcohol laws will be referred to city authorities for possible prosecution.
Advertisements promoting alcohol or alcohol-related products are prohibited on campus. Rocky Mountain College's name and/or logo shall not appear in conjunction or co-sponsorship with the name of any alcoholic product or distributor without written approval of the President's Cabinet.
It is unlawful and prohibited to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, or use a controlled substance at Rocky Mountain College.
As a condition of employment at Rocky Mountain College, all employees will abide by the terms of this statement and notify the personnel office of any violation occurring in the workplace within 24 hours after such a violation.
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 any Rocky Mountain College residence hall or any other Rocky Mountain College property, nor is it allowed at any College-sponsored event or activity off campus.
Violations of the Rocky Mountain College alcohol or drug policy will be treated on an individual basis; however, violators can expect one or more of the following sanctions to be enforced:
- Conduct hearing with a College official or supervisor;
- Restitution for any damages caused as a result of the alcohol/drug policy violation;
- Assignment of appropriate disciplinary work;
- Students or employees may be required to participate in an approved alcohol/drug rehabilitation program;
- Students violating the College alcohol/drug policy may be placed on disciplinary probation, suspended, or dismissed from the College;
- Employees violating the College alcohol/drug policy may be placed on disciplinary probation or terminated from employment.
PENALTIES UNDER FEDERAL LAW
Manufacture, distribution, or dispensing drugs (includes marijuana) - Min: A term of imprisonment not more than one year, and a minimum fine of $1,000. Max: A term of life imprisonment without release (no eligibility for parole) and a fine not to exceed $8,000,000 (for an individual) or $20,000,000 (if other than an individual.)
Possession of drugs (including marijuana) - Min: Civil penalty in amount not to exceed $10,000. Max: Imprisonment for not more than 20 years or not less than 5 years, a fine of not less than $5,000 plus cost of investigation and prosecution.
Operation of a Common Carrier under the influence of alcohol or drugs - Max: Imprisonment for up to 15 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000.
PENALTIES UNDER MONTANA STATE LAW
Marijuana Possession: Though attitudes about marijuana are changing across the country, Montana currently has some of the more severe marijuana laws. If you are caught in possession of pot, you will be charged with a crime. It has not been legalized here, nor has it been reduced to an infraction, or decriminalized.
Possession of less than 60 grams of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor offense. A first-time charge could result in up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines. If this is your second offense, it could result in up to 3 years in jail and $1,000 in fines.
If you are accused of possessing more than 60 grams of marijuana, you will be charged with a felony and face up to 5 years in the prison system, along with fines reaching a possible $50,000.
Possession of Opiates: Opiates are a class of drugs that includes heroin and morphine. Under Montana law, possession of these drugs is considered a felony and can result in a sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison along with $50,000 in fines.
Possession of Anabolic Steroids: If you are accused of possessing anabolic steroids, you will likely face a misdemeanor charge for your first offense, and face up to 6 months in jail and fines reaching $500.
Possession of Methamphetamines, Cocaine, and Other Drugs: Possession of most other drugs in Montana is considered a felony and can result in up to 5 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
Medical Amnesty Policy
Rocky Mountain College is dedicated to creating a community of educated individuals focused on personal responsibility and sound decision making. We are committed to providing educational opportunities and guidance that encourages students to develop a responsible approach to social challenges.
The College encourages students to attend to their personal health and well-being and to behave in an equally caring way with their peers. We encourage our students to use alcohol responsibly at all times; however, we recognize there may be times when students face medical emergencies involving excessive drinking and/or drug use. In those instances, we do not want college policy to prevent students and/or “Good Samaritans” to avoid seeking assistance. As such, RMC has adopted the following Medical Amnesty policy:
If an individual seeks medical attention due to a medical emergency, the College will not pursue disciplinary sanctions against the student for consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Medical Amnesty applies only to the consumption of alcohol and drugs; it does not preclude disciplinary sanctions due to any other violation of Rocky Mountain College policies, Student Code of Conduct, state and/or federal law. Additionally, the policy does not prevent action by police, other law enforcement personnel, or other third parties including the Rocky Mountain College Athletic Department or the Aviation program.
The Rocky Mountain College Medical Amnesty Policy is applicable to:
- Student(s) requesting medical assistance for oneself
- Student(s) seeking medical assistance for another person
- Student(s) for whom medical assistance was sought.
If a student(s)/group(s) calls on behalf of another student, that student(s)/group(s) is required to remain with the student experiencing the emergency until medical attention arrives. Please note that Medical Amnesty will not be granted to students who do not seek medical assistance. Students who have not sought assistance and are confronted by College staff or another third party, will be referred to the appropriate College disciplinary body.
Any student seeking medical assistance for alcohol or drug consumption will be required to meet with the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee and will be expected to complete the following:
- A mandatory meeting with the Campus Counselor or other educational referrals
- Assume responsibility for all costs associated with hospital transportation, treatment, assessment or damage.
Please note that the referring student(s)/group(s) may also be required to meet with the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee. As long as the student seeking Medical Amnesty complies with all directives from the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee, there will be no disciplinary action taken related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Medical Amnesty is not intended to shield students or organizations in cases of extreme, flagrant, and repeated incidents. In cases where extreme, flagrant, or repeated violations of Rocky Mountain College policies, Student Code of Conduct, state and/or federal law occur, the College reserves the right to take disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis regardless of the manner in which the incident was reported. In each case, the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee will make the final determination as to the applicability of this provision. In the case of any emergency involving alcohol or other drugs, call 911 immediately for emergency medical assistance.
Alcoholism is a disease that is best recognized as uncontrollable drinking of alcohol. An alcoholic is dependent on alcohol both mentally and physically. Young people sometimes risk a greater chance of becoming alcoholics because their bodies are still developing.
The alcoholic jeopardizes his or her health and safety, job, loved ones, self-esteem, and life. Alcoholism is also an economic problem. Billions of dollars are lost annually because of crimes, accidents, and health costs associated with alcohol abuse.
Alcoholism affects people of all socioeconomic classes, races, ages, and both sexes. Some long-term results of alcoholism include:
- Liver damage
- Heart disease
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
- Damage to a developing fetus
People drink for many different reasons, including to relieve tensions, as a substitute, to compensate for perceived inadequacies, and for social and cultural acceptance. Heredity and physiological factors may play a role in determining why certain people become addicted to alcohol.
Some symptoms of alcoholism may include drinking alone, missing work or school, hiding drinking, losing drive to succeed, drinking to relieve stress and fear, or becoming moody or grumpy while not drinking.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, identified by four stages of drinking
- Early stages – Makes promise to quit, but cannot and has trouble stopping at one drink.
- Middle stages – Denies drinking, may drink in the morning, and the "good feeling" is hard to find.
- Later stages – Avoids people, loses will, neglects responsibilities, and often has the "shakes."
- Final stages – Loses everything, but cannot quit drinking.
Alcoholism is a treatable illness, no matter what stage the alcoholic has reached.
Drug abuse is using chemical substances for non-medical reasons. Drugs impact the body, the mind, and an individual's behavior.
Drug abuse disturbs the user's physical health, emotional health, and social life. The effects differ from person to person.
There are many reasons for drug abuse, including:
- Peer pressure – Young adults do not want to be different than their friends.
- Rebellion – Drug abuse goes against their parent's standards.
- Curiosity – Users want to see how it will affect them.
- Escape – Drugs let users temporarily forget about immediate problems.
- Self-esteem – Drugs help users feel better about themselves.
- Energy – Drugs may provide a rush of energy.
- To feel creative – Drug users often experience enhanced sensory.
- Craving – After prolonged abuse, the body depends on drug use.
Commonly misused drugs include:
- Mescaline and peyote
- Amphetamine variants
- Lighter fluid
- Paint thinner
Drug users risk any of the following:
- Overdose – Overdose occurs when an uncertain purity or type of drug is purchased. After a while the user needs more to reach a high, so he or she begins experimenting with different amounts.
- Dependence – Lengthy use can cause a psychological or physical need for the user.
- Health problems – Continued use slowly destroys the body and mind. Mental illness, malnutrition, AIDS, and hepatitis are just some of the physical and mental problems that can occur.
- Accidents – Drugs give the user false bravery and confidence to try things that the user wouldn't do when not using.
Drug abuse can also cause some of the following problems:
- Legal problems – Users may accumulate jail time, a police record, and legal fees.
- Economic problems – Drugs are expensive, and a habitual drug user may spend thousands of dollars a year to support his or her habit.
- Personal problems – Loss of closeness to friends and family can occur when the user decides that he or she needs drugs more than people; often, the user begins to withdraw from others.
- A conviction for any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for any federal grant, loan, or work study assistance if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal aid. (Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended Sec. 484(r)(1)); (20 U.S.C. 1091(r)(1)).
Sources of Help
Help is available at anytime to anyone who suspects he or she might be chemically dependent, as well as to families of alcohol and drug abusers. Listed here are sources within the region.
Cynthia Hutchinson, MSW, LMFT
Rocky Mountain College
Alden Hall 106
3318 3rd Ave. North
Billings, MT 59101
There are multiple AA meetings each week in the Billings area for anyone who is interested. See the Billings Gazette for times and places.
1231 N. 29th St.
Billings, MT 59101
Family Support Services
104 N. Broadway
Billings, MT 59101