The term 'Drugs' includes tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter and prescribed medication, volatile substances and controlled drugs. Sacred Heart College does not condone the misuse of drugs but recognises that there has been a considerable increase in the abuse of drugs in recent years in Northern Ireland. Drug misuse appears to be affecting an ever young population and the so-called "recreational" use for drugs can lead to a dangerous acceptance of illegal and harmful drug misuse as part of every day life.
We believe that the College has a vital preventative role to play in combating the misuse of drugs by young people and we therefore include a drugs education programme in our curriculum.
The College sees its role as that of a caring community to the physical, mental, social, emotional, moral and spiritual health, safety and well being of our pupils and staff.
We want our pupils to make informed and responsible decisions about drugs by increasing their knowledge and by developing in them appropriate values, attitudes and skills. However, we recognise that drug misuse is a whole-community issue and that schools alone cannot solve the drugs problem; the College is only one of a number of groups and agencies which must play a part in the education of young people and we make use of their expertise where possible in the programme.
This policy has been prepared in line with the guidance issued to all schools by the Department of Education (2004/09). Drugs will include 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.
As well as everyday substances such as tea and coffee, drugs include;
- alcohol and tobacco
- 'over-the-counter' medicines, such as paracetamol
- prescribed drugs, such as Cannabis, LSD, Ecstasy, Amphetamine Sulphate (Speed), Magic Mushrooms (processed), Heroin and Cocaine
- Other substances such as amyl/butyl nitrate (poppers) and unprocessed magic mushrooms.
Aims and Objectives
- To have a clear and agreed understanding among everyone in the College community about the implications and possible consequences of drug use/misuse
- To provide all staff (teaching and non-teaching) with adequate training and support to ensure them to deal effectively and confidently with incidents of suspected drug misuse, and to ensure that the agreed procedures are consistently and sensitively applied in all situations
- To empower teaching staff through appropriate training and support to develop and deliver an effective drug education programme.
DRUG EDUCATION PROGRAMME
Our Drugs Education Programme within Science (Northern Ireland Curriculum) taught by Science teachers and in Personal Social Health Education taught by form teachers and invited by speakers aims to:
- Be preventative in its approach
- Raise pupil awareness of the dangers and implications of drug misuse
- Give pupils opportunities to develop the self confidence to make sensible choices against a background of peer pressure
- Encourage pupils to have good self image and self esteem through success in other aspects of college life
Drugs education includes teaching about:
- Misuse of volatile substances and certain medicines
- Illegal drugs
- Effects of drugs on health
- Risks and legal aspects of drug taking
Outside agencies and speakers can play a significant role in drugs education. Whenever these groups work at Sacred Heart College detailed planning takes place prior to each visit and is followed up with thorough evalutaion.
DEALING WITH DRUGS RELATED INCIDENTS
Such incidents will be referred to the designated teacher (Principal), and dealt with seriously and sensitively. Confidentiality is a key issue in such cases to support the individual and prevent damaging gossip.
A range of sanctions will be used to deal with individual incidents as appropriate. Incidents may include:
- A pupil bringing drugs/illegal substances onto college premises
- A pupil involved with illegal drugs
- Use of drugs on college premises
The following action will be taken in any drygs related incident:
- All drugs/substances would be confiscated and handed to the relevant authority
- Parents consulted as a matter of urgency
- Outside agencies involved as appropriate : Social Services; Child Protection Team (CPT); GP
- Young Person's Adviser (YPA); drugs counsellor
- Emergency services (if appriopriate)
- Youth and Community police consulted and involved as appropriate
Fixed term exclusion will be used as sanction to give a "cooling off period" to allow space for investigation of an incident and co-ordination of support services.
The needs of the individual and all members of the college community must be considered when dealing with drugs related incidents. A pupil selling or supplying dangerous substances/illegal drugs faces permanent exclusion.