SUBSTANCE USE/MISUSE POLICY
The National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 sets out a detailed programme of action to be implemented by Government Departments and agencies to combat the very serious problem of drug misuse in our society. The strategy highlights the important contribution that schools can make in the area of education and prevention and requires them to have substance use policies in place.
A substance or drug is devised as anything which changes the way the body functions mentally, physically or emotionally. This includes:
(c) All illicit drugs
(d) Medicines taken in excess of prescribed dosage.
(e) Solvents, glue, aerosols and other substances which are misused.
(f) The inhalation or consumption of glue, solvents and aerosols.
• To comply with the provisions of Education Act 1998, which requires that the school should promote the social and personal development of students and to provide health education for them.
• To comply with action 43 of the National Substance strategy.
• To protect students, teachers, staff and parents from dangers arising out of substance use and misuse in school and school related activities.
• To ensure that there is a procedure in place for dealing with instances of substance use or misuse.
• To ensure that there is a process of education regarding substance use.
• For the purposes of this policy a drug is any chemical that alters now the body works, or how the person behaves or feels as a result of taking the chemical.
• When a student is taking prescribed medicine while attending school the parent or guardian of the student must inform the school in writing.
• This policy has been drawn up in liaison with the Health Education Service of the Midland Health Board and the Garda Siochána.
• This policy applies to the whole school community, which consists of the Teachers, Parents, Students, support staff, suppliers of goods and services to the school and all visitors to the school including persons using the school facilities or premises.
• This policy applies to all school buildings and the grounds surrounding them. It also applies to all school related activities on or off the school grounds.
Relationship to schools Mission Statement:
Our Mission Statement reads as follows:
Coláiste Mhuire is committed to excellence. We promote a caring and disciplined environment in which all students are challenged to reach their academic and personal potential.
Further to the school’s duty of care, the Board of Management will provide education and updating on substance use and misuse to the school community.
Student Education concerning substance use or misuse:
As exposure to alcohol, tobacco and various substances are part of the reality facing the school community, there is a need to eclucate students in particular on substance use and misuse.
Accordingly the programme of education will be implemented through:
(1) The Junior Certificate Social, Personal Health Education Programme.
(11) The Religious Education Programme for Senior Cycle Students.
THE JUNIOR CERTIFICATE S.P.H.E. PROGRAMME:
• The overall aim of S.P.H.E is to assist young people in becoming more personally effective in looking after themselves and their own health.
• Substance misuse Education is about providing accurate information on the effects of different types of substance but more importantly it is about developing the personal skills students need in order to cope with pressures to experiment with substances. This demands an approach building on self-esteem and self-reliance as the student matures.
• The S.P.H.E programme at Junior level includes: the use and misuse of medicines, alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs with specific reference to peer pressure influences and decision making.
• In addition to the use of the textbook S.P.H.E. Teachers use a variety of active learning methodologies such as:
(2) Group Work
(4) Guest speakers and use of media – newspaper articles
and relevant T.V. programmes.
Similar Methodologies are used in the senior cycle Religious Education Programme.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
FOR SENIOR CYCLE STUDENTS.
Substance use/misuse is dealt with in two modules:
(1) Substance use/ and misuse.
(2) Personal Development.
• Both of these Modules investigate the physical, emotional and economic effects of substance misuse on the individual especially in relation to individual self-esteem.
SCHOOL COMMUNITY AWARENESS
• The Students Council will take an active role in raising awareness in the dangers of substance misuse.
• The school has established linics with relevant support agencies.
• The staff is provided with an update on the issue of substance misuse every three years.
• The Board of Management commits itself to ongoing professional development in relation to current issues in substance use and misuse.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• The Board of Management has the overall responsibility for operation and review of this policy.
• Each member of the school community has responsibility for implementing the policy on a day to day basis.
• Students and parents should alert the Principal of all known or suspected incidents and substance possession, dealing or misuse/use of substances.
• Teachers, support staff and service providers must:
(1) follow the procedures as stipulated in this policy and must inform the principal of suspected incidents of possession, dealing, use or misuse of substances.
PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH INCIDENTS OF SUBSTANCE USE OR MISUSE
1. All incidences of substance use/misuse by students will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour and the disciplinary procedures of the school. Students possessing, supplying or using illicit drugs or misusing prescription drugs or over the counter medicines or other substances may be suspended from school by the Principal and their case will be referred to the Board of Management, which may decide to exclude such students permanently from the school.
2. The internal lines for reporting and recording incidences are as follows:
(a) Any member of the school community with knowledge or suspicious relating to substance use or misuse should give this information to the Principal or other designated person.
(b) In the case of tobacco use the school fully supports the current legislation in relation to Tobacco and prohibition of smoking.
(c) Individual cases of possession, dealing in, use or misuse of drugs will be treated with fairness and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
(d) Parents or guardians are informed immediately regarding a known case substance use or misuse.
(e) At all times the school will liase with the Garda Siochána in all situations involving the use or misuse of illegal substances where the legal responsibility requires the school to do so.
(f) Illegal substances will be handed over to the Gardaí.
(g) The responsibility solely lies with the Board of Management or its delegates for all contacts and communications with the media relating to any incident arising out of the implementation of our policy.
As soon as the policy is finalised a copy will be distributed to each household, each member of staff, trustees of the school and the local Gardaí.
Each parent or Guardian will be required to return a signed slip indicating receipt of this policy.
MONITORING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES
This substance use policy will be monitored and reviewed once a year by the Principal and or the Policy Steering Committee.