RANDOM DRUG TESTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
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