RAN­DOM DRUG TESTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STU­DENTS

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

EVANGELINE B. NAVARRO

THE De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) re­cently is­sued a mem­o­ran­dum to con­duct ran­dom drug tests for high school stu­dents. Ac­cord­ing to De­part­ment Or­der (DO) 40, the drug test­ing will fol­low the pa­ram­e­ters laid down by Repub­lic Act (RA) 9165, or the Com­pre­hen­sive Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act of 2002.

The con­duct of the test­ing will be based on RA 9165’s Im­ple­ment­ing Rules and Reg­u­la­tions, as well as the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Board (DDB) Reg­u­la­tion 6, S. 2003, as amended by DDB Reg­u­la­tion 3, Se­ries of 2009.

Ar­ti­cle III, Sec­tion 36 (c) says, “stu­dents of ter­tiary and sec­ondary schools shall, pur­suant to the re­lated rules and reg­u­la­tions as con­tained in the school’s stu­dent hand­book and with no­tice to the par­ents, un­dergo a ran­dom drug test­ing: Pro­vided, that all drug test­ing ex­penses whether in pub­lic or pri­vate schools un­der this Sec­tion will be borne by the gov­ern­ment; Pro­vided, fur­ther, that the DepEd and the Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, as the case may be, shall see to it that this pro­vi­sion is im­ple­mented.”

As for the DDB, it con­sid­ers the prac­tice as en­tirely a “health” is­sue with the aim of pro­vid­ing ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ven­tions to stu­dents who test pos­i­tive of drug use.

A stu­dent who is con­firmed to be us­ing a dan­ger­ous drug will be re­ferred to a gov­ern­ment-owned De­part­ment of Health (DOH)-ac­cred­ited fa­cil­ity or a DOH-ac­cred­ited gov­ern­ment physi­cian to de­ter­mine de­pen­dency level.

If the stu­dent shows no signs of improvement, re­cov­ery or fails the drug test the sec­ond time, he/ she may be re­ferred to a DOH-ac­cred­ited fa­cil­ity suited to the stu­dent’s level of ad­dic­tion.

Stu­dents who refuse to un­dergo ran­dom drug test­ing “shall be dealt with in ac­cor­dance with the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the schools; pro­vided that at no time re­fusal to un­dergo test­ing shall not give rise to a pre­sump­tion of drug use or de­pen­dency; pro­vided fur­ther that the school may im­ple­ment in­ter­ven­tions on such re­fusal other than the of­fense of drug use or de­pen­dency. In­ter­ven­tions should be con­sis­tent with the pro­vi­sions of this Board Reg­u­la­tion and its guid­ing prin­ci­ples.”

Stu­dents and par­ents have noth­ing to worry about since re­sults of the test are strictly con­fi­den­tial. At any rate, the school can­not pub­lish or post re­sults whether pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive.

— oOo— The author is Mas­ter Teacher I at An­ge­les City Na­tional High School

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