Our Substance Misuse Policy applies to students, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and all users of the school.  This applies to all school activities, both on and off site.



Our Substance Misuses Policy relates to our school Mission Statement where “all aspects of the student are valued and nurtured…. we encourage everyone to appreciate his/her own worth”.  Clearly substance misuse prevents this.



Today’s social environment presents young people with many challenges that affect their health and well-being.  Exposure to substance misuse is part of this reality.  As holistic educators, we endeavour to instil in students the skills necessary to make positive choices.  The National Drugs Strategy, 2001 – 2008 requires that all schools have a substance misuse policy in place.



  • To heighten staff awareness of substance misuse among students.
  • Educate students in the effects of substance misuse.
  • Prevent students getting involved in substance misuse.
  • Identify students at risk of substance misuse.
  • To offer support services (counselling and referral) to students at risk.
  • To maintain a drug free environment for students.




A number of student care procedures are in place.

  • The pastoral care system means each student has Tutor and Year Head support. Other support staff available to students include: HSCL Officer, Counsellor, Guidance Counsellor and Garda Liaison Officer.
  • Student care meetings take place bi-monthly to identify students at risk.
  • Code of Behaviour states that smoking is prohibited either on the grounds or in the vicinity of the school.
  • The use of sprays, aerosols and Tipp-ex are to be actively discouraged.
  • Students are supervised before school and at all break times. CCTV is in use in common areas.
  • Parents are contacted immediately if a student appears ill or injured. The school will seek medical assistance if parents/guardians are not available.



  • The school provides each student with a timetabled substance use education. At Junior Cert, this forms part of SPHE.  Transition Year students pursue a personal development programme.  Senior classes cover a module on substance use as part of their Social Education programme.
  • We endeavour to promote high self-esteem and development of personal skills across the curriculum.
  • We encourage students to make informed decisions in all aspects of their life.
  • All staff are made aware of the school policy on substance misuse.
  • New staff to be briefed at teacher induction programme.
  • Staff will be released for training programmes where appropriate.
  • Garda Liaison Officer speaks to student groups at regular intervals.


Management of Substance Related Incidents

The school acknowledges when drugs related issues arise, there has to be a balance struck between:

  • The separate needs of the persons involved
  • The needs of the whole school
  • The school’s reputation


Incidents related to substance use may be classified as follows:

  • Emergency – the person is unconscious
  • Very unusual behaviour/intoxication.
  • Suspicion of substance dealing.
  • Evidence given by another person.
  • Having legal/illegal drugs on school campus or out of school activity.
  • Supplying/selling legal/illegal substances.
  • Person seeking help from a member of staff or friend.
  • Staff need to be vigilant and aware of the signs of substance misuse.


Assessing an Incident

  • Deal only with facts.
  • Contact the Principal regarding suspicions or evidence.
  • Fill in an incident/report sheet in the office.
  • Only the Principal, Counsellor/Guidance Counsellor, HSCL Officer and Year Head should be aware of the details. The Principal will hold documents in confidence.
  • Each incident will be dealt with separately. Support services will be offered.  Suspension may be used as a sanction.  Expulsion is only an option after all else has failed.
  • Where illegal substances are concerned, the Garda Liaison Officer will be contacted.


Roles and Responsibilities

The Principal:

  • Takes overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation and for liaison with the Board of Management, Parents, Pastoral Care team and other outside agencies.
  • May appoint a Substance Misuse Co-ordinator to implement this policy.
  • Ensures that staff dealing with substance issues have adequate support and training


The Care team will:

  • In conjunction with the Principal, discuss students at risk and possible courses of action to be followed.
  • Monitor and evaluate the course of action to be followed.
  • The Substance Misuse Co-ordinator would ensure that all documentation relating to substance misuse is circulated to all concerned.

Teachers and other support staff should:

  • Be aware of the signs of substance misuse
  • Be familiar with reporting procedures
  • Record all instances in writing



  • The Substance Misuse Policy will be reviewed by the Principal and members of the Care team at least once per year, at the behest of the Substance Misuse Co-ordinator.
  • The policy should be updated in light of changing information, legislation, developments in the school curriculum and feedback from parents/guardians, teachers and students.