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Alcohol and Drug Use

Responsible Action Protocol

Northwestern students are expected to alert appropriate officials in the event of any health or safety emergency – specifically those involving the abuse of alcohol or drugs – even if violations of the student code of conduct may have occurred in connection with such an emergency.

Because the University understands that fear of disciplinary actions may deter requests for emergency assistance, the University has adopted the Responsible Action Protocol to alleviate such concerns and promote responsible action on the part of students.

In a situation involving imminent threat or danger to the health or safety of any individual(s), students are generally expected to:

The University will consider the responsible action when determining the appropriate response for any policy violations. This may mean that no University disciplinary action is taken. But, the incident will be documented and it may lead to educational, community and health initiatives. Contact with the student’s family could be required. The protocol does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities.

Failure of students to take responsible actions in an emergency situation, however, may void all protections under this provision. It may constitute an aggravating factor for purposes of disciplinary sanctioning and may lead to further disciplinary actions.

Other policies and information

Treatment and prevention

The Office of Health, Promotion and Wellness at Northwestern University offers a variety of alcohol awareness, prevention, and treatment programs including:

It also offers referrals for students seeking alcohol or other drug treatment services. For more information on these offerings, visit Health, Promotion & Wellness: Alcohol and Other Drug Services.

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