Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Drugs Education Policy

The College is committed to transmitting the values and moral perspectives consistent with a Christian conscience and students are encouraged to strive for the highest standards in all aspects of their school life.  The College actively encourages initiative and positive leadership and strives to develop people who are sensitive, reflective, discerning and willing to contribute to society.

To focus on the care, protection and well being of the pupils by enabling them to make informed and responsible decisions about drugs, helping them to cope with living in an increasingly drug tolerant society.

The need for a drugs education policy is a reflection of the fact that drugs and drug taking have become a common occurrence in the Northern Ireland context.  Young people are particularly susceptible to the increasing opportunities and associated dangers of drug taking.

The College accepts that it is not immune from the trends in the community, and as such it requires a drugs education policy to help pupils confront the dangers of drug taking, and to protect pupils from any possible emergence of drugs within the College.

The term “Drugs” includes any substance, which, when taken, has the effect of altering the way the body works or the way a person behaves , feels, sees, or thinks.  Drugs include: Alcohol, tobacco, over-the-counter and prescribed medication, volatile substances and controlled drugs.

Drugs Education is an integral part of the Pastoral Care programme for the College.  It is also supported by key contributions from the teaching of Religious Education, Physical Education, Biology and English.

To provide opportunities for the pupil to develop knowledge and understanding of the use, misuse, risks and effects of drugs; at the same time developing the appropriate skills to help pupils make informed and responsible choices in life which would reflect a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle.
Pupils will be provided with up-to-date information about drugs and will gain knowledge and understanding of the following issues.
a)  School rules relating to medicines, alcohol, tobacco, solvents and responses to drug-related incidents.
b)  Information about legal drugs (including prescribed and over-the-counter medicines) and illegal drugs, their effects and associated health risks.
c)  Scientific terminology including the following words: use, misuse, abuse, addiction, tolerance, dependence, overdose, withdrawal, adulteration.
d)  Different categories of drugs, including stimulants, depressants, analgesics and hallucinogens.
e)  The law relating to drugs.
f)  The school’s sanctions relating to drugs.
g)  How to identify and understand pressures and influences.
h)  How to seek advice and support within the locality.
i)  The misuse of drugs in sport.
j)  Personal, social, emotional, financial, biological and psychological effects of drug misuse.
k)  Dangers associated with particular drugs, mixing drugs, and specific environments and moods.
l)  Patterns of drug misuse locally and nationally and the impact on the community and wider society.
m)  Alcohol and the effects of different levels of intake.
n)  'Legal' drugs including: tobacco, magic mushrooms, solvents, poppers.
o)  Illegal drugs including: cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, speed, heroin, cocaine.

To foster skills in young people to:
a)  Identify risks to health.
b)  Communicate with peers, parents and professionals.
c)  Make choices and know the consequences of their action.
d)  Make decisions and be assertive in situations relating to drug misuse.
e)  Be able to request advice and support.
f)  Give help if needed e.g. placing someone in the recovery position.

To consider attitudes and values about drug use including:
a)  Attitudes and beliefs about drugs and drug users among different groups in society.
b)  Attitudes towards drugs and laws relating to drugs.
c)  Making choices and knowing the consequences of actions.
d)  Impact of media and advertising on young people's thinking.
e)  Recognition of oneself as a role model and acceptance of the responsibility for one's actions.
f)   Taking responsibility for one's own and others people's safety.
g)  Alternative social and leisure pursuits.
The Role of the Board of Governors
1.  Ensure the development and implementation of an effective Drugs Policy in consultation with the relevant stakeholders i.e. staff, parents/guardians.
2.  Ensure the policy is publicised in the School Prospectus and that it is reviewed at regular intervals.
3.  School Governors will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and training to enable them to respond appropriately to suspected related incidents including alcohol and tobacco.  This may include the appointment of a designated Governor for Drugs.

The Role of the Principal
1.  Determine the circumstances of the incident.
2.  In any suspected drug related incident contact the parents/guardians of the pupils involved.
3.  If the incident involves a controlled drug contact will made with the police.
4.  Ensure the welfare of both the pupil(s) involved in the incident and other pupils in the school.
5.  Ensure the storage and safe disposal of any drugs/drugs related paraphernalia.
6.  Inform the Board of Governors and agree on any pastoral/disciplinary response.
7.  Forward a written report of the incident to the Board of Governors and the designated officer within NEELB.

The Role of the Drugs Education Co-Ordinator
a)   Ensuring that a relevant and up-to-date programme is being taught;
b)   Liaising with other bodies in relation to drugs education, (PSNI, HPANI, other voluntary agencies);
c)   Ensuring that this policy is being implemented;
d)   Liaising with other staff on drugs education matters;
e)   Liaising with the Principal on any drug-related incident at school.

The Role of the 'Designated Teacher' for Drugs Incidents
a)   Liaising with other bodies in relation to drugs incidents, (PSNI, counselling groups etc.);
b)   Supervising any drug-related incident at school;
c)   Receiving any substances found in school;
d)   Liaising with other staff on drugs matters;
e)   Liaising with the Principal on any drug-related incident at school;
f)   Recognising the need for having a member of staff trained in the necessary first-aid skills to cope with a pupil under the influence of drugs;
g)   Ensuring that all staff are aware of emergency procedures.

The Role of Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff
1.  Deal with emergency procedures if necessary
2.  Forward any information, substances or paraphernalia to designated teacher for drugs who will take immediate action.
3.  A brief factual report of the incident should be forwarded to the designated teacher.

Training of Staff
The school’s policy on drugs also relates to all staff.
Staff should not have in their possession nor be under the influence of an illegal substance or alcohol while on the school premises

As a learning-for-all school the College is committed to promoting and facilitating relevant training for both the professional and personal development of staff enabling them to carry out their duties and responsibilities more effectively.

Provision is made to keep the staff well informed and up-to-date with appropriate information.  Training is provided to allow staff to become more competent and confident in handling Drugs Education and Drugs related issues/incidents.  This training has been facilitated by the Field Officer of the NEELB.

All members of staff and parents should be made aware of indications of drug use particularly with reference to the four categories that these may fall into i.e.:

1  Physical signs;
2  Behavioural signs;
3  Discovering drug taking paraphernalia;
4  Risk factor analysis.

These are outlined in full in ‘Illicit Drug Use in N.I - A Handbook for Professionals’.  All staff are issued with a Drug and Solvent booklet which deals with drug recognition.

  Solvent Abuse; illegal drugs and school sanctions.
Y9  Drinking & Smoking; legal drugs; the law; school sanctions.
Y10  Legal and Illegal Drugs:
  Further facts: effects on the body, decision making,
  drugs in sports, implications of drug misuse (Personal, social, emotional,
  financial, biological, psychological), attitudes and rights; school sanctions.
Y11/12  Legal & Illegal drugs revisited/reviewed, reflection and discussion on what has been learnt, school sanctions.
Y13/14   Drugs Education through active learning; school sanctions.

A range of outside agencies will be used to enhance the drugs education programme.  These will include visits from the following agencies/individuals:

Resolv (The Society for the prevention of Solvent and Volatile Substance Abuse)
Smac (Substance Misuse Action in Coleraine)
Deal (Drug Education through Active Learning.)
PSNI (Police Service for Northern Ireland)
Jackie Burke (Drug Counsellor)
At all times a teacher will be present when an individual or a representative from an agency is taking a class.  The school will issue/complete a check list of questions in order to ensure a satisfactory level is met by the individual/agencies

The drug education programme will be monitored, reviewed and evaluated annually and the necessary adjustments will be made taking into account changes in trends and local circumstances.  The programme will be monitored by means of evaluation sheets completed by teachers, students, parents and by informal oral feedback from same. 
Staff use of Tobacco
Both the school building and the grounds are a smoke free zone and hence smoking within these grounds is prohibited.

Involvement of Parents
Parents should be provided with appropriate information through booklets and meetings.  A working partnership between the parents, pupils, school and community should be encouraged which would maximise communication and effective action on drugs.  A Drug Awareness evening for parents is arranged periodically and evaluation forms are filled in.  The drugs policy is publicised in the school prospectus and a full copy may be made available by contacting the school office.

Finding a substance on the school premises
If an unknown substance is found on the school premises, carefully lift it (using a skin barrier e.g. a plastic bag) and bring it to the ‘designated teacher’ (Mrs Doherty) who will lock it away.
  If it is found by a pupil it should be left undisturbed (as per instruction given to students during drug programme) and a teacher informed immediately.
  Mrs Doherty will, in liaison with HOY and VP/Principal -
  (i)   hand the substance to the police for analysis - ensuring feedback;
(ii)   record action taken;
(iii)  prepare a report for the Board of Governors.

2.  Pupil suspected of possessing/distributing an illegal substance
a)   Stay calm – bring the pupil and belongings to designated teacher  and write a brief factual report of the incident.
b)  (i)  If pupil will co-operate go to (c).
  (ii)  If pupil will not co-operate go to (d).
c)   The designated teacher will proceed to:
  (i)  Inform the Principal and the pupil’s parents/guardians
  (ii)  Conduct the search procedures according to school policy i.e. made in the presence
of another adult witness and the pupil him/herself allowed to empty bag, uniform,
locker.  A search of the pupil’s personal belongings should only be made with the
pupil’s consent. 
(iii)  Take possession of, and lock away any suspected controlled drug which the pupil
may be in possession of.
(iv)  Write a detailed report of the incident including action taken.
d)   The Principal will proceed to:
  (i)  Inform the pupil’s parents.
  (ii)  Contact the local PSNI and CSIO (Community & Schools Involvement Officer) if anything is found or you still have suspicions.
  iii)  Forward the detailed report of the incident including action taken to the Board of Governors.
  iv)  Determine circumstances – only PSNI can investigate.
  v)  Arrange for counselling of the pupil.
  vi)   Upon meeting with Board of Governors decision on the disciplinary measures to be taken will be made.
    vii)   Instigate review of procedures.
  viii)  Deal with press – brief, factual, positive, do not elaborate further.
3.  Pupil suspected of having taken drugs in school
If the pupil is conscious proceed as follows:
a)  inform the Principal and send for designated teacher
b)  try to find what substance has been taken and how much of it
c)  bring pupil to the First-Aid teacher along with his/her schoolbag and other possessions and write a report
d)  the teacher in charge of sick pupils will decide if the pupil needs hospital treatment and if so, advise the designated teacher who will contact his/her parents and call an ambulance immediately
e)  Mrs Doherty will conduct the search procedures according to the school policy and write a detailed report of the incident including the action taken.
f)  The Principal will:
  i)  Inform the pupil’s parents/guardians.
  ii)  Contact the local PSNI and CSIO.
  iii)  Inform the Board of Governors and decide on the disciplinary measures and forward reports to NEELB.
  iv)  Arrange for counselling of the pupil.

If the pupil is unconscious in the above incident:
a)   place him/her in the recovery position, ensure that no further harm comes to him/her
b)   stay with the pupil and inform the Principal or designated teacher who will phone for an ambulance immediately
c)   try to find out which substance has been taken and how much of it (this should be done in the presence of another adult witness)
d)   proceed as for points e) and f) above

As far as possible determine the circumstances around the incident and this should be carried out with discretion and sensitivity bearing in mind the rights of the pupil involved and his/her family.

No statement should be made to the press or other media, other than by the Principal.

It is the policy of the College to keep the premises free from drugs. 

Illegal Drugs
It is strictly forbidden:
  (a)  To be in possession of, to use or to traffic in illegal drugs, to intend to supply or purchase an illegal substance.
  (b)  To provide information to other pupils regarding contacts or places where illegal drugs may be obtained.

To be engaged in any of the above activities on the school premises or on the way to or from school or at any social or extra-curricular activity organised by the school, is viewed as a very serious offence and disciplinary action will be taken.

Disciplinary Action
(i)  The Principal will take responsibility for deciding how to respond to the drugs related incident. The student in question will be interviewed and subsequently may be suspended until the Governors have had an opportunity to consider his/her future.  He will take into account such factors as the seriousness of the incident and the identified needs of the pupil, other pupils, the school and the community.  Suspension or expulsion may be recommended.

  “At all times the needs of the individual must be considered and appropriate interventions and support mechanisms put in place” (CCEA/DENI – Drugs : guidance for schools in Northern Ireland, May’04).

(ii)  Police authorities will be informed.

Any student who is aware that pupils are engaging in any of the above activities is expected to report the matter to the Principal.  Failure to do so will be deemed as collaborating in the offence.

(i)  Students are forbidden to have in their possession or to consume alcohol (including alcoholic ‘lemonade’) either on the school premises or when going to or from school or at any social or extra-curricular activity organised by the College.
  (ii)  A student who arrives at a school function while under the influence of alcohol will not be admitted.  Students who offend on items (i) or (ii) above may be suspended/expelled after being interviewed by the Principal/Board of Governors and he/it has considered their individual case.

Solvents / Aerosols etc.
Students may not have solvents, aerosols or any other substances, open to being abused in their possession.
  Any student who abuses such substances either in or en route to school may be suspended/expelled after being interviewed by the Principal/Board of Governors when he/it has considered their individual case.

4  Students may not bring cigarettes, tobacco, matches or lighters to school.  Smoking on the school premises or on the way to or from school is forbidden.  Offenders will be subject to detention/suspension.

Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and Teachers cannot and should not promise total confidentiality.  If information concerning controlled drugs or any criminal activity is disclosed, the staff member has to pass this on to the designated teacher for drugs.  The school then needs to inform the police and the NEELB.  The member of staff can direct the pupil to sources of confidential information and advice as to treatment and rehabilitation centres.

Guidance for Search Procedures
If the designated teacher for drugs has reason to believe that a pupil may be in possession of unlawful items, it may be appropriate for him/her to search a desk/locker.  However, he/she must not carry out a physical search of the pupil or any personal belongings which are in these areas e.g. schoolbag or coat, unless they have the pupils consent.  The search should be made in the presence of the pupil and another adult witness. 

The pupil may be asked to turn out the contents of personal belongings e.g. bags or pockets, but if they refuse their parents/guardians and police should be contacted.  It should be emphasised that a member of staff should never carry out a physical search of a pupil.

Management of Solvents and other Hazardous Substances
Legitimate access of pupils to solvent based substances e.g. during science experiments in school laboratories, needs to be strictly controlled.  The priority here will be for effective supervision to ensure the proper security of such substances, thus preventing pupils from being able to retain solvents for improper purposes.  Other hazardous substance should be locked away safely.

Management of Prescribed Medicines in School
Parents should inform the school of any on-going medication which their son/daughter requires.  If medicine is needed the smallest practicable dose should be brought to the school, with clear written instructions for administration, giving the name of the pupil.  The medicine should be kept by the pupil in their locker, out of the reach of other pupils.

Procedures for using Outside Agencies
When using outside speakers/agencies the parents/guardians will be informed and the sessions will always have a teacher present.  The input by the individual/agency will be monitored and feedback/evaluation will be sought from both the pupils and teachers present. 

Before any individual/agency gives a presentation at the school the following checklist of questions needs to addressed:
•  Does the agency/individual have a specified child protection policy?
•  How is confidentiality dealt with?  The outside speaker needs to be aware that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed if any disclosures are made to them.
•  Are resources such as videos, tapes, role plays appropriate?
•  Has the agency/individual worked with any other schools?
•  Does the agency/individual have a clear set of aims and objectives as well as lesson plans?
•  Is the agency/individual prepared to adhere to the school’s drugs policy?

Programme of Visits
Year   8  Resolv (Society for Prevention of Solvent and Volatile Substance Abuse)
Year 10  Drug Roadshow (Resolv, Deal, Smac, PSNI)
Year 12  Jackie Burke (Drug Counsellor)
Year 13     Roy Lindsey (Deal)