Law and Policy Summary

This summary of laws and policies related to alcohol and other drugs is provided as a brief overview to familiarize students with these issues.  As such, it is not a comprehensive listing of relevant laws and policies.  For the full text of Brown’s policy on alcohol and drugs, click here and for Rhode Island Statutes, click here. Please note that laws related to alcohol and other drugs may be found in various sections of the statutes. If you are part of a student group planning events with alcohol, you can refer to the Student Activities Office page on Social Function Planning for information on these policies and procedures.

Brown seeks to ensure the health and well-being of all students.  On-campus and off-campus resources are listed at the bottom of this page to encourage students to seek help for themselves or for a friend whenever they may be worried about alcohol or drug use.

Medical care for intoxication does not result in disciplinary action.
Calling EMS (401.863-4111) and getting medical care for alcohol or drug use will not initiate disciplinary action. There is a requirement to meet with a Health Educator, because this is an important opportunity to understand what happened and to talk about harm reduction strategies.  This appointment is free and confidential. 

For more information on when to call EMS and what happens when you call, click here.

Legal Age
Alcohol is legally served or sold only to those 21 and older.

Fake ID
Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol is a misdemeanor in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Prohibited Types of Alcohol Containers
Kegs and other volume containers of alcohol (e.g., beer balls, wine boxes) are prohibited in any residence hall area. Individually-sized glass bottles of alcohol are also prohibited.  These types of containers are permitted in certain authorized spaces only in conjunction with a registered social event.

Public Drinking
Open containers of alcohol are illegal on Providence property (e.g., sidewalks and streets) and in public areas of the University (e.g., the Green).

Money for Alcohol
No money may be exchanged for alcohol without a Class F license (issued by the Providence Board of Licenses).  Undergraduates must apply for a Class F license through the Student Activities Office.

Responsibility for Intoxication
It is illegal to serve someone to the point of intoxication or beyond. Rhode Island law states that the server may be held responsible if s/he provides alcohol to someone who becomes intoxicated.

Expectations related to Alcohol Service
People who provide alcohol must ensure that no one is coerced, however subtly, to drink or to drink excessively. At all events where alcohol is served, non-alcoholic beverages must be provided by the event sponsor. The event sponsor must also provide food when alcohol is served.

Use of Alcohol or Other Drugs and Other Problem Behavior
The use of alcohol or other drugs in association with problem behavior will be seen as an exacerbating factor, not a mitigating one, and will not constitute an acceptable excuse for such behavior (e.g, vandalism, violence, etc.).

Selling Drugs
Expulsion from Brown is the most likely consequence for a student caught selling drugs.

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Resources at Brown

Brown Emergency Medical Services (EMS) 401.863-4111
Emergency response available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here to find out what happens when you call EMS.

Dean of Chemical Dependency, Kathleen McSharry 401.863-2536
The Dean of Chemical Dependency provides comprehensive academic and social support in non-clinical settings for Brown students, faculty and staff affected by alcohol or drug abuse. You can contact her by email at Kathleen_McSharry@brown.edu.

Health Education 401.863-2794  
If you are concerned about your own use of alcohol or other drugs or a friend’s use, you can have a free, confidential appointment at Health Education. Our focus is harm reduction, not abstinence, and we will work with you on the changes you choose to make. Located on the third floor of Health Services.

University Health Services 401.863-3953
Confidential walk-in or appointment health care. Located at the corner of Brown and Charlesfield streets. Students can walk in to Health Services and get medical care for intoxication.

Early Sobriety Group
A group for Brown students in recovery. The group’s aim is to help students develop the social supports necessary for sustained recovery.

Psychological Services 401.863-3476
Confidential appointments for alcohol or drug concerns and for adult children of alcoholics. Located on the fifth floor of J. Walter Wilson.

Resources in Providence

Alcoholics Anonymous
Confidential and anonymous twelve-step recovery program for people with drinking problems. Meetings near Brown: 5:00pm Mondays and 5:30pm Thursdays in the Common Room of Alumnae Hall. For more meetings and information, go to the AA web site. Some groups listed are specifically for young people.

Marijuana Anonymous
MA uses the basic 12-step recovery program for people who are addicted to marijuana. Online groups are available, as well as publications, frequently asked questions and 12 questions to determine if marijuana is a problem in your life. The literature section has stories by teens, help for loved ones of marijuana addicts, and the dangers of cross addiction.

Narcotics Anonymous 401.461-1110
Confidential and anonymous twelve-step recovery program for people with drug problems. Meeting near Brown: 7:30pm Thursdays, Commons Room of Alumnae Hall. For more meetings and information, call the number or click on the link above.

Al-Anon/Alateen 401.781-0044
Confidential and anonymous twelve-step program for friends and family members of people with drinking problems. Some groups are specifically for adult children of alcoholics (ACOA). Al-Anon meetings near Brown: 12-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. Stephen's Church Parish House (on George Street between Brown and Thayer).Click above for more information about Al-Anon and Alateen, or click here for online Al-Anon groups. For other meetings in Rhode Island, click here.

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Disclaimer: Health Education is part of Health Services at Brown University. Health Education maintains this site as a resource for Brown students. This site is not intended to replace consultation with your medical providers. No site can replace real conversation. Health Education offers no endorsement of and assumes no liability for the currency, accuracy, or availability of the information on the sites we link to or the care provided by the resources listed. Health Services staff are available to treat and give medical advice to Brown University students only. If you are not a Brown student, but are in need of medical assistance please call your own health care provider or in case of an emergency, dial 911. Please contact us if you have comments, questions or suggestions.