Introductory Statement

St. Oliver Plunkett’s N.S. is committed to addressing the needs of the whole school regarding Substance Use. This school has an important role in terms of education, prevention, support and handling drug related incidents. Parents/guardians have a primary responsibility with respect to substance use education.
A ‘drug’ can be defined as ‘any substance, which alters how the human body functions mentally, physically or emotionally’

Relationship to School’s Mission/Vision/ethos
As per Code of Behaviour

The aim of this policy is the welfare, care, and protection of every young person in line with the Education Act, 1998.

· To provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for learning

· To promote self-esteem and self awareness of students

· To promote positive health behaviour particularly in relation to tobacco, drug and alcohol use.

· To increase knowledge about health so students acquire accurate, age-appropriate information about drugs and to distinguish between myths and facts about drugs

· To engage the partners in the education process


· To clearly outline the school’s position regarding substance use

· To outline the approach to Substance use Education

· To provide clear direction and guidance for school personnel on recognising and managing a substance /drug related incident

Rationale –Circular 13/02

This policy is necessary because (see Guidelines p.1)

· The school wishes to provide for the needs of their students and respond appropriately

· The world in which we live presents young people with many challenges in relation to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, which affect their health and well-being.

· The Education Act 1998 provides that schools should promote the social and personal development of students and provide health education for them.

· The National Drugs Strategy ‘Building on Experience’ is now Government policy and it requires schools to have a substance use policy in place.

· The recent report from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs entitled ‘Drug use prevention’ (November 2001) underlines the importance of schools developing substance use policies.

· The 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) Report -Alcohol was identified as being the dominant drug of misuse in Ireland whilst the use of tobacco and other drugs was above the ESPAD average.

Scope of policy:
The policy applies

· To the entire school community, including students, staff, Board of Management, parents/guardians, all visitors to the school building and premises

· At all times to school buildings and yard, all school related activities when under the supervision of school staff.

· To the possession, use or supply of drugs in the above mentioned places

· (Prescribed Medication is dealt with in The Administration of Medication Policy)
{Caveat: This Policy is to be read in conjunction with The Health and Safety Statement, Administration of Medication Policy and Code of Behaviour)

Policy Content
This Policy is focused on these three areas:
(i) Education concerning substance use
(ii) Management of alcohol, tobacco and drug-related incidents
(iii) Provision for staff awareness-raising, training and development

(i) Education concerning substance use
The School wishes to emphasise that the primary role of substance mis- use prevention rests with parents and guardians
Our school will provide Substance Use Education within the broad context of Social, Personal and Health Education, which has been formally timetabled since September ’03. Mainly Class Teachers will deliver it in an age appropriate manner, following the SPHE Curriculum Content Objectives. (Appendix 1)

The teachers will:

· Provide age-appropriate information

· Use the Walk Tall Programme as our primary resource in providing education concerning Substance Use.

· Use an active learning approach as far as possible

· Will consider drawing on the expertise available within the community and invite outside visitors/speakers to work with the pupils, in the presence of a teacher, from time to time. These may include members of the Garda Schools Programme, MHB personnel etc

ii. Management of alcohol, tobacco and drug-related incidents:
In all situations involving Drugs, there is a need for balance between the needs of the young person, the needs of the school community and the reputation of the school.

The school recognises that drugs, both legal and illegal are available in the local community and that the school, being part of that community may have drug related incidents, which need to be addressed in a consistent and sensitive way.

The following are examples of Drug related incidents:

· Emergencies where the person may be unconscious

· Intoxicated/unusual behaviour

· Suspicion/rumour of drug use, possession or dealing

· Disclosure by another person

· Possession of an illegal drug on the school premises or on a school related activity, e.g. School Tours, Football matches etc

· Drug paraphernalia found on the school premises.

Assessing an incident:
In all cases where there is a Drug related incident, it is important to take time to assess the particular situation before responding.
If necessary the Medical Emergency procedure will be followed.

Smoking and Tobacco

· This school, including the yard and grounds, is a non smoking area, as clearly indicated by signs on the premises

· Students are not permitted to smoke or possess cigarettes on school premises, on school activities or on school trips

· Adults who smoke must do so off the school premises.

· All users of the premises are required to comply with the no- smoking policy.

· Pupils found smoking, in possession of paraphernalia will be asked to hand over all products. Parents will be contacted. Disciplinary measures will be in line with the Code of Behaviour, depending on the nature of the incident.


· The school is an alcohol-free zone.

· Students and adults in care of pupils are not permitted to consume alcohol on school premises, on school activities or on school trips.

· Any exceptions to this policy for adult only events after school hours will be with the sanction of BOM.

St. Oliver Plunkett’s Policy on alcohol, tobacco and drug-related incidents include the following:

· Over the counter drugs. Parents are requested not to give OTC Medicines to their children coming to school.

· The school accepts that solvent based substances can be misused

· All chemicals on school premises are locked away and prohibited for student use unless under a teacher’s supervision.

Illegal Drugs and Solvents
Students and adults are prohibited from possession, use or supply of illicit drugs on school premises, on school activities or on school trips

· Possession or dealing on the school premises or during a school-related activity is prohibited.

· Selling/supplying legal /illegal drugs is prohibited

· School grounds being used for drug activity / use on the school premises (smoking on school premises/ pupils experimenting with solvents)

· Aerosols, sprays e.g. Deodorants, body spray, paints, etc are prohibited on school premises and during school related activities.

· Drug paraphernalia found on school property / finding substances

· Disclosure about use

· T-shirt/clothing/pencil case etc. that have an open or underlying drugs message

· Employees of the BOM are advised never to possess or carry illegal substances. If found in breach of this Policy, the safety, care and welfare of pupils must be the first priority and the matter will be dealt with according to BOM procedures.


· Procedures are in place for dealing with incidents requiring medical intervention as laid out in our school’s policy on Administration of Medication or our Health and Safety statement (cf. INTO Members’ Handbook p.181) see appendix 2

· All use of medication on school premises, on school activities or on school trips comply with this policy

· Employees of BOM are advised to store all personal Medication securely and safely.

· A student may not give another student any prescribed or “over the counter” medication.

In managing drug-related incidents

· The ‘National Guidelines on the Protection and Welfare of Children’ and the ‘Department of Education Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ will guide school personnel’s response and be adhered to

· The welfare, care and protection of the pupil will at all times inform our actions.

· We will only deal with the facts as they present

· Disciplinary procedures will be followed in line with the Code of Behaviour
We will endeavour, however, to ensure there is a balance between our pastoral and disciplinary response.

When a substance misuse incident is suspected, witnessed or reported the following procedures will be adopted:

The Principal/Deputy Principal will be informed immediately of any breaches of this policy and will be involved in the subsequent management of the incident.

· Assess the situation to determine if medical/garda intervention is necessary

· In any emergency situation, priority will be given to the health and welfare of the child/re.

· Relevant emergency services contacted (call 999/112) or one of the relevant services .

· In the case of a pupil, parents/Guardians may be contacted, and required to attend the school immediately.

· If any substances are found on the school premises, Gardai /JLO will be contacted to remove it.

· Recording of drug-related incidents

o A factual, written account on the standard school report card will be retained.

o The Principal will hold all written documentation.

Who will be informed?

· People will be informed on a ‘need to know’ basis so that confidentiality can be respected, however, total confidentiality cannot be guaranteed where a disclosure of drug involvement is made.

· The principal will be informed and his/her role will be:
i. To inform parents/guardians in any drug related incident, which involves their own child.
ii. To inform the pupil about what is happening and why.
iii. To inform the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

Other agencies may also be involved such as:

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