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Substance Abuse Policy

Introduction to the Policy

School Position

The school is committed to addressing the needs of the whole school in relation to drugs.

We believe that Staff, Parents, Board of Management, Parents Council, Students and visitors to the school need to work together and that co-operation is essential to the acceptance and implementation of the policy.

It has been agreed that a drug is Any substance (other than food) which changes the way the body functions physically, mentally or emotionally”.

The school recognises that drugs – both legal and illegal are available in the local community and that the school being part of this community has and will have drug incidents which need to be handled in a consistent and sensitive way. This school also acknowledges that it has an important role to play in drugs education, both in terms of prevention and offering support to those who use drugs.

This policy applies to teachers, parents, students, the Board of Management, all other school staff and visitors.

The School Ethos

This school believes that the personal and social development of each member of the school community is important. Education flourishes in an environment where good relations are encouraged, where people feel valued and respected and where there is genuine tolerance, fairness and support for those in difficulty.

This philosophy underpins and informs all the work we do and is central to this policy document.

Where This Policy Applies:

This policy is to apply to students, all staff, visitors and all users of the school building and grounds at all times, also on all school related activities including trips. Please note it is hoped that students would adhere to the school policy while in the school uniform/vicinity.

Our Rational for having a Drugs Policy:

  1. For everybody to know procedure for any related incidents.
  2. Protection of students and all other school users.
  3. Drug information education.
  4. Awareness of drug use in culture and a preventative response.
  5. Standards of our school, what we aspire to as a body of people in relation to drug use and misuse and the education of this.

For the purpose of this policy a drug is:

Any substance (other than food) which changes the way the body functions physically, emotionally or mentally.

The categories of drugs covered in this policy are


  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Solvents
  • Prescription and over the counter drugs
  • Any other relevant substances


  • Everything

Goals hoped to be achieved by implementing this policy

  • To educate and inform through religion, S.P.H.E. and assembly for students, workshops for parents, in-service days for staff, passive education e.g. signs, posters, taking part in European Drug Awareness Week.
  • Protect all members of the school community from use and misuse of drugs.
  • Encourage a responsible attitude to use and misuse of all substances.

1. Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes

The school has a commitment to drug awareness education. This program is incorporated across the curricular e.g. science, home economics, religion, C.S.P.E. and is a major part of the 1st and 4th year S.P.H.E. courses and also part of the L.C.A. syllabus.

2. Management of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Related Incidents

The school has a procedure for each scenario as described below; this is to ascertain that incidents are treated in a uniform manner and if an incident occurs all involved will know exactly what to do. The following procedures apply on all school-related activities and trips when possible.

  1. Suspected Use

The teacher (or other person) will inform the principal who will include class-master and year head (if available). The incident will be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner. If evidence of use is found, both the student and parents will be informed and the principal will then look at a range of appropriate sanctions which will be processed through the board of management if necessary.

2. Disclosure

Person that is disclosed to inform the principal, proceeds as above.

3. Finding Substances

The finder passes the substance on to the principal.

If illegal, the principal will be obliged to contact the Gardai immediately and the parents, following an investigation. Procedure as above to be followed.

If legal substances are found an investigation by the principal will follow and parents will be contacted. Procedure is as above.

4. Possession/Supply on Premises

This is dealt with in the same manner as finding substances.

5. Prescription

A medical file for each student is in use in the school. The school expects to be informed of the use of prescription drugs as outlined in the school rules.

3. Provisions for Training for Parent and Staff Development

There will be training for parents as often as needed/demanded.

For teachers In-Service days / ½ days will be arranged.

Roles and Responsibilities

The School Staff, Board of Management, Parents Council and Students Council are all responsible for development and implementation of this policy.

Success Criteria

The policy will be considered a success when:

  • Drug education is provided for students
  • Drug education is established for parents and staff
  • Procedure is successfully followed in the event of substance misuse incident
  • Commitments outlined such as signs, posters, participation in Drug Awareness Week and ongoing education for all, are met

Monitoring Procedures

1 year after policy is put in place, all groups responsible will be consulted about the success of the policy and asked to evaluate. The working group will then amend the policy if necessary. Policy will be reviewed annually thereafter.


It is envisaged that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet access and use is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if the school rules are not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions will be imposed. The following rules govern the access to and use of the Internet in the school:


Students will not use the Internet without the permission and supervision of a teacher

Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted

The use of personal floppy disk or CD ROMs by student is not permitted

Students will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute

All passwords to be kept secure. Students are responsible for all use under their password

World Wide Web

Students will use the Internet for educational purposes only

Students will not visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials

Students will never disclose or publicise personal information relating to themselves or others

Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons

Students are not permitted to use the school network for E-mail and Internet chat


Abuse of Internet access will result in rigorous enforcement of the School Code of Behaviour, including withdrawal of access privileges

The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities


A new Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act came into effect on 1st September 2005. St. Declan’s must now be committed to securing the welfare of all its staff and students and any others who may visit or interact in any way with the school.

We are required to comply with all the legislation set out for employers in this Act. This involves two main processes to be undertaken by the school managers:

  1. (a)Draw up its own relevant Health & Safety Policy
  2. (b)Carry out and keep a clear record of a risk assessment for the college and its environs

The responsibility for this lies primarily with (Safety Manager) and Mr. Power overall as college Principal. Our function is to see that safety standards are maintained in line with Government legislation. Any issues of a personal welfare nature will be dealt with when reported and in a confidential manner.

As trained teachers we are expected to be competent in dealing with safety issues in our areas within the school. The VEC and the DES are responsible for resources to enable us to implement Health and Safety measures in the college.

A written report on all accidents must be submitted to office.




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