March 1, 2024

Student Substance Use and Abuse



Policy Title:

Student Substance Use & Abuse

Policy ID:



I. Purpose of Policy: To provide a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment and promote safe choices.

II. Policy Scope: Applies to students who engage in Substance Abuse and/or possess, sell, or transmit Alcohol or any Drug, Substance, or Look Alike Substance during the school day on school property or at a school-sponsored activity.

III. Definitions

Drug includes any narcotic, hallucinogenic, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana or any other controlled substance as defined by state or federal regulation or statute.

Drug also includes any prescription or non-prescription drug, medicine, or other chemical including, but not limited to, pain relievers, stimulants, diet pills, cough medicines and syrups, cold medicines, laxatives, stomach and digestive remedies, depressants, or sleeping pills, used or consumed in a manner not consistent with an approved medicinal or therapeutic usage.

Paraphernalia includes any handmade or commercial device or implement that assists, or is used for, the intake of a Substance.  Examples include rolling paper, pipes, needles, and manipulated lab equipment.

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is a patterned use of a substance in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others or adversely affects a person’s ability to perform physically, intellectually, emotionally, or socially

Substance means any drug, alcoholic beverage, or any abuseable glue or aerosol paint, as defined by state or federal law, or any other chemical substance including, but not limited to, lighter fluid and reproduction fluid, for inhalation;


Look alike substance is a substance that is of a nature, appearance or effect that will allow a person to display, sell, distribute or use the look-alike substance as if it were a controlled substance.


IV. Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Hartford School District that no student shall possess, use, sell, give or otherwise transmit any Substance, Paraphernalia, or Look Alike Substance, or be under the influence of any drug, Substance, alcohol on any school property, adjacent to school property, or at any school sponsored activity away from or within the school.

Violations of this policy are subject to corrective action and/or discipline as outlined in the Student Alcohol and Drug Prevention Procedures.

 It is further the policy of the district to educate students about risks associated with Substance Abuse, to make appropriate referrals in cases of Substance Abuse, and to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention and intervention efforts annually. The district seeks to educate, refer, and prevent through the following means:

      1. Cooperative Agreements. In dealing with substance abuse cases, every effort will be made to promote responsible decision-making by the student involved and other students who are aware of another student’s use or abuse. The focus will be to encourage appropriate medical and/or psychological intervention by trained professionals. The Principal shall annually designate a member of the substance abuse team to be responsible for providing information to students and parents or guardians about outside agencies that provide substance abuse prevention services and to encourage the use of their services and programs when appropriate. In addition, the Hartford School District has established a Student Assistance Program. Students, under the age of eighteen, who have been referred or who refer themselves to the Student Assistance Program counselor may be seen individually by the counselor for purposes of substance abuse screening and consultation. It will be the goal of the Student Assistance Program to encourage the student to involve his/her parents or guardians at the earliest point in time.

      2. Referral and Consent. Parental consent will not be required for student participation in group programs conducted within the schools that are educational in nature and designed to impart information and/or assist students in improving their sense of self-esteem. Such groups may be conducted only by trained professionals contracted by the schools to perform such service or by trained school staff who have been approved by the school administration to conduct such groups.  Nor is parental consent required for referral to an outside substance abuse treatment program when a student who is twelve years of age or older is suspected of substance dependency, verified to have that dependency by a physician, and gives her or her own consent for treatment.

      3. Substance Abuse Team. In each school the principal shall form a Substance Abuse Team which shall screen students who refer themselves and students who are referred by staff for suspected drug and/or alcohol use and/or abuse problems. The team will determine the need for further screening, education, counseling or referral for treatment in each case referred to it. In addition, the principal shall establish procedures for administering emergency first aid related to alcohol and drug abuse for the team to follow.

      4. Evaluation Procedures & Annual Report. In a standard format provided by the Vermont Department of Education, the principal or his or her designee will submit an annual report to the Commissioner of Education describing substance abuse education programs and their effectiveness.

      5. Staff Training. The principal will work with appropriate staff to provide training necessary to ensure that teachers and health and guidance personnel are prepared to competently teach or provide other services required in the school’s alcohol and drug abuse prevention education program. Training will be designed to meet the requirements of State Board Rule.  The training will include a component explaining procedures that require immediate notification of the school administration by school staff of any violation of law, including the illegal possession or distribution of drugs or alcohol.

      6. Community Involvement. The principal will work with school staff and community members to design and implement a program to inform the community about substance abuse issues and the programs and supports provided by the school to educate students about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and to assist students who are abusing alcohol or drugs.

      7. Annual Report. In a standard format provided by the Vermont Department of Education, the principal or his or her designee will submit an annual report to the Commissioner of Education describing substance abuse education programs and their effectiveness.

      8. Notification. The principal shall ensure thatparents and students are given copies of the standards of conduct and disciplinary sanctions contained in the procedures related to this policy and are notified that compliance with the standards of conduct is mandatory.  Notice to students will, at a minimum, be provided through inclusion of these standards and sanctions in the student handbook distributed to all students at the beginning of each school year or when a student enrolls in the school.


V.  References

   20 U.S.C. §§7101 et seq. (Safe & Drug-Free Schools & Communities Act of 1994)

  16 V.S.A. §909 (Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention Education Curriculum

  16 V.S.A. 131(9) (Comprehensive Health Education)

 16 V.S.A. §1045(b)(Driver Training Course)

16 V.S.A. §1165 (Alcohol and drug abuse)

18 V.S.A. §4226 (Drugs: minors, treatment, consent)



  Vt. State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices §§4200 -4215)



Responsible Owner:

Hartford School District

Contact(s): email


Approved By:

HSD Board

Revision History:


Approval History:




Current Approval Date:




Related Polices & Procedures:

See Student Alcohol and Drug Procedures




Related Job Aids: