Tuesday 15 August 2017

College and High School students can now be subjected to random drug testing

The government agencies tasked to take care of the education of the nation is heeding the call of the President. Both Department on Education and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) signed their respective Orders in response to the President Duterte’s marching orders that the war against illegal drugs will be unrelenting.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones signed last August 8 Department on Education Order no. 40, subjecting high school students both from the private and public sector to random drug testing beginning this school year.

Said random drug test will be implemented primarily for prevention and rehabilitation, and will ensure confidentiality.
Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education with their respective Orders in pursuance to President Duterte's marching orders that war on illegal drugs will be unrelenting (photo credit to the owner)

"Random drug testing for students is considered by the government as entirely a 'health' issue and aims to provide appropriate interventions to those who will be tested positive for dangerous drug use, which will help the student stop further use and/or abuse of the substance," Order no.40 states.

If a high school student is found to be drug dependent, the Department of Social Welfare and Development or a social worker after being referred by the school will provide counselling and intervention.

The drug-positive student "shall undergo the prescribed intervention program under the supervision of the DOH-accredited facility or physician, or private practitioners, in coordination with the parent." said DepEd.

Private schools that  will refuse to implement the random drug testing program by the Department will be reported to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Dangerous Drugs Board.

CHED follows suit

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan signed last Aug. 12, CHED Memorandum Order no. 64- that allows all higher education institutions (HEIs) to conduct mandatory drug testing starting the incoming school year 2018-2019.

"All HEIs are enjoined to adopt a strong policy on drug prevention on campus and among the youth," the order read.

Although HEIs are not required to implement mandatory drug tests, they are "strongly encouraged" by CHED to adopt it as part of their institutional requirements of their admission and retention policies."

The CHED memo states that among others : Only drug facilities, physicians, and private medical practitioners accredited by the Department of Health can administer the drug tests. The results of all drug test results are confidential and shall not be posted by the HEIs, whether the results are positive or negative.

One of the provision of the order is that it empowers the higher educational institutions to include the mandatory drug testing as part of the requirements for retention of a student. A confirmatory test is mandatory if the result yield is positive, which will be done after informing the student and his parent.

"If the student is found to be drug dependent, the appropriate sanction, intervention, and/or rehabilitation shall be imposed on the student as may be provided in the student handbook and other school policies," the order said.

A consultation with the students and inform all student-applicants, is encouraged to be done by all HEI’s that will implement the mandatory drug test.

"The refusal of the student to undergo mandatory drug testing shall be subject to the relevant sanctions as provided in the student handbook of the HEI," the memorandum read.
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