SUBSTANCE USE POLICY
A drug can be defined as a chemical, which causes changes in the way the human body functions mentally, physically or emotionally. For the purpose of this policy we are concerned with drugs which have the power to change a previous mood and the way a person thinks about things and drugs or on which the taker may become physically, or more often psychologically dependent.
The school sees itself as having a role in the process of enabling students to increase control over and improve their health. We endeavour to promote the wellbeing of students by:
- Providing a safe and healthy environment.
- Promoting positive health behaviours.
- Increasing knowledge about health.
- Promoting the self-esteem and self-awareness of students.
- Working in partnership with the parents and pupils.
To this end, in response to the encroaching drug culture in our society we feel the need to implement a comprehensive policy to address the problem of substance misuse.
The Policy will focus on:
- Strategies for prevention of substance misuse problems i.e. Walk Tall, S.P.H.E., Grow in Love
- Procedures for dealing with drug incidences in the school
- Guidelines and information for teachers to improve their response to the problem of substance misuse.
This document should read with the Code of Behaviour/Discipline Policy of the school.
Implementation of the Policy
- Parents and guardians will be given a copy of the policy on enrolment of their child in the school.
- Enrolment will be on acceptance of this and other school policy documents by them.
- The policy will be regularly evaluated and updated where necessary.
- The school wishes to make clear that the primary role of substance misuse prevention rests with the parents.
It is accepted amongst educationalists that education about alcohol, tobacco and drugs is best carried out by teachers through the inclusion of S.P.H.E. in the curriculum. This S.P.H.E. Programme would also draw on the expertise available from the community i.e. Parents, Gardaí, and Health Board.
Best Practice Guidelines:
- Class teacher has the primary role in the delivery of substance misuse prevention education in the school setting.
- Substance misuse prevention education must be delivered in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE).
- Scare tactics are ineffective.
- People’s drug use must not be normalised.
- Information must be age, developmentally, culturally and environmentally appropriate.
- An active learning approach is recommended.
- Consistent implementation is crucial to effectiveness.
- Supplementary education must compliment and not replace or duplicate the school curriculum.
- The teacher must be present and actively involved at all times.
- Expectations of school based programmes need to be realistic.
Procedures to be followed on the misuse of substances may include some or all of the following:
- Assess the situation.
- Seek medical help if necessary.
- Any adult displaying signs of substance abuse will be asked to leave the premises.
- Contact principal.
- Contact Parents.
- Referral to outside agency.
- It is mandatory to contact Gardaí if an illegal substance is found on the premises.
- Sanctions (See Code of Behaviour).
- Report (Refer to Child Protection Guidelines).
A record should be kept of any incident which occurs. The DLP or the DDLP will keep the record on Aladdin
Smoking – School Policy:
- The school is a no-smoking area.
- Students are not permitted to smoke or possess cigarettes on the school premises or in any other place.
- Visitors will comply with the no-smoking policy.
- Pupils found smoking on school premises will be reported to the Principal and parents will be informed.
- Tobacco will not be permitted as a prize for school raffles.
Alcohol – School Policy:
- The school is an alcohol-free area.
- Pupils will not be allowed to consume alcohol in school or during any school activities.
- If a teacher is of the opinion that a student is under the influence of alcohol, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken.
- Where a student comes to school under the influence of alcohol, their parents will be called in to take them home.
- Students breaking these rules will be dealt with according to the school’s disciplinary procedure.
- If alcohol is required for an adult only school function, permission shall be sought from the B.O.M.
Illicit Drugs and Solvents – School Policy:
- Students are forbidden from being in possession of or using illicit drugs or solvents in the school premises.
- Illicit drugs found on school premises should be locked away and the Gardaí contacted to dispose of them. Teachers are advised not to transport illicit substances at any time.
- If a teacher is of the opinion that a student is under the influence of illicit drugs or solvents, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken.
- Where the school suspects trafficking of illicit drugs, an investigation will be carried out. Parents of any student involved will be informed. The advice and assistance of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer will be sought.
- The school B.O.M. will expect parents to inform the Principal or teacher if they suspect their child of drug taking.
- Feedback from all parties
- Effectiveness of policy in dealing with incidents
Roles and Responsibilities:
- The entire school staff are responsible for the implementation of this policy.
- Parents are responsible for supporting the school’s goals to educate pupils in substance misuse prevention.
- The Board of Management are responsible for supporting implementation of the policy through staff training and resource provision.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on: 25/2/2021.
Date of Review:
This policy will be reviewed in September 2023