SUBSTANCE MISUSE POLICY

SCOPE

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.

 

RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOOL’S MISSION/VISION/AIMS:

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.

 

RATIONALE

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.

 

GOALS/OBJECTIVES

  • 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.

 

POLICY CONTENT

Prevention

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.

 

Education

  • 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

 

REVIEW PROCEDURES

  • 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.