Substance Use Policy
This policy addresses the education of children in relation to alcohol, tobacco, solvents
and drugs and the procedures for managing incidents relating to these substances.
A drug can be defined as a chemical which alters how the body works, or how the person behaves or feels.
The world in which we live presents young people with many challenges which affect their health and well-being. Exposure to alcohol, tobacco and drugs is part of this reality. Our school needs to reflect on how we might provide for the needs of our pupils and respond appropriately to what are sometimes sensitive and emotive issues.
The central objective of our policy is the welfare, care and protection of every young person in line with the Education Act, 1998 and the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.
St. Patrick’s NS acknowledges that it has an important role to play in drugs education particularly in terms of prevention. We believe that the entire school community needs to work together and that cooperation is essential to the acceptance and implementation of the policy.
This policy links in with other policies in our school which include our Health and Safety and Code of Behaviour Policies.
This policy applies to Teachers, Parents/Guardians, Pupils, Board of Management (B.O.M.), all school personnel, members of the community using the school building and school visitors.
The school believes that the personal and social development of each member of the school community is important. Good relationships are fostered, people feel valued and respected and there is genuine tolerance, fairness and support for those in difficulty.
As a health promoting school we have an important role in enabling students to increase control over and improve their health.
The well being of students is enhanced by:
In response to the emerging drug culture in our society we feel the need to implement a policy to address the problem of substance use should it arise.The Policy focuses on: 1. Strategies for the prevention of substance use problems, i.e. relevant topics are covered from Walk Tall ,
This policy aims to:
Content of the Policy:
1.Education Concerning Substance Use
Substance misuse prevention education will be taught throughout the school in the overall context of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum. The core programme for substance misuse prevention education will be the Walk Tall programme. It will be supported by the Stay Safe, RSE and Alive-O programmes.
The Walk Tall Programme hopes to give children the confidence, skills and knowledge to make healthy choices. Social, Personal and Health Education is time-tabled into the curriculum and taught for 30 minutes per week by the class teacher. The methodologies used include discussion, art work, co-operative games, circle work, stories, poems, songs
and rhymes, role play and mime, visualisations, group work, project work, brainstorming and movement.
Parents are informed that substance misuse prevention education is taught throughout the school as part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme and are notified when outside agencies deliver programmes or presentations to support substance misuse prevention education.
Parents of Junior Infants receive a Welcome Pack which includes information on all aspects of SPHE.
Best Practice Guidelines:
2. Management of Substance Related Incidents
Legally held substances include:
Note: If a pupil needs to take medication in school (e.g. Inhaler, allergy injection etc.) the Board of Management must be informed. Please see our policy on the Administration of Medicines for advice
Procedures to be followed on the misuse of substances may include some or all of the following:
A record should be kept of any incident which occurs. The DLP or the DDLP will keep the record in a Special Incident Book.
People will be informed on a ‘need to know’ basis. Parents/guardians will be involved unless reporting would pose a threat to the child. In the case of illegal drugs the Gardai will be informed by the principal.
In the case of misuse of illegally held substances, by a pupil follow steps 1-5 above PLUS:
In the case of suspected drug taking by a pupil outside school hours, the D.L.P. will be informed immediately. Those who report incidents to the school will be encouraged to contact the Gardaí to pass on this information. Parents will be informed.
Guidance and support will be given to pupils and parents on the availability of specialist advice from relevant support agencies.
A combined pastoral/disciplinary approach will be taken. Each incident will be dealt with
on its own merits. Repeated incidents will be dealt with in a different manner.
Smoking – School Policy
Alcohol – School Policy
Illegal Drug Use – School Policy
An effective policy needs to be supported by an ongoing commitment from the Board of Management and School Trustees to training and staff development.
All staff will be offered drug information and awareness training.
Relevant courses, offered by the Department of Education and Science, will be offered to staff. Where and when available, First Aid Training will be made available to staff.
All parents have access to this policy document on our website and other related policies including Health and Safety, Child Protection, Administration of Medicines, Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying. A hard copy of this policy is available in the Office.
Parents are encouraged to support the school’s efforts to educate pupils in substance misuse prevention and to manage substance use incidents.
Roles and Responsibilities
This policy was reviewed between April-June 2011 and will-be reviewed again in 2014 or if new legislation or an incident requires so.