Substance Abuse Policy

Killinarden Community School


Dublin 24


Substance Abuse Policy

(Last Review: 2011/12)


The School Position:

 KillinardenCommunitySchoolis committed to addressing the needs of the whole school in relation to alcohol, tobacco and drug use.  The school guarantees, in so far as possible, a safe environment for all and emphasises that in the discharge of their duties, teachers act in loco parentis (in place of parents) and are conscious of their duty of care.

 We believe that Teachers, Parents, Board of Management, Students and other relevant personnel 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 which changes the way the body functions, be it mentally physically or emotionally.’

 This school recognises that drugs, both legal and illegal may be available in the local community and that the school being part of this community may have drug incidences which need to be handled in a consistent and sensitive way.  The 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, Young People, Board of Management and all other school staff to include visitors.

 The School Ethos

 The school believes that the Personal and Social Development of each member of the school community is important.  Education flourishes in an environment where good relationships are encourages, 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

The Use of Drugs in School

 KillinardenCommunitySchooldoes not accept the possession, use or supply of drugs on the school premises or grounds, on school trips by any member of the school community.  The only exception is for legitimate medicinal use and the school must be informed by parents/guardians in writing.

 This policy is focused on four key areas:

 1.       Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes.

 2.       Managing Drug Related incidents.

 3.       Training and Staff development.

 4.       Monitoring, Review and Evaluation.

 5.       Storage and Disposal

 1.      Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes

 The School Position

 KillinardenCommunitySchoolis committed to providing a comprehensive and time-tabled drug education programme for all students which is incorporated into the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme currently running in the school.

 Our educational aims in relation to Drug Education are:

  • To increase the self-esteem and confidence of the young people.
  • To equip young people with personal and social skills.
  • To enable young people to make informed healthy and responsible choices.
  • To provide honest and age appropriate information on drugs.
  • To minimise the harm caused by drug use by offering supportive interventions.

 These aims will be met through the following actions

 v    All teachers involved in SPHE are given the opportunity to avail of training in group facilitation skills and personal development.

 v    The school will continue to draw on the expertise and support of the local KDPPG (Killinarden Drug Primary Prevention Group)

 v    Staff teaching the Drug Education Programmes will be given the opportunity to avail of training in The Substance Abuse Prevention Pack (SAPP) –‘On My Own Two Feet’ Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Children.

 v    All teachers will be offered Drug Information and Drug Awareness training through regular in-service training.

 v    Outside speakers and agencies will be involved as appropriate to reinforce work done in the classroom.

 Parental Involvement

 Parents will be made aware and informed of what is happening in the school with regard to drug education n an ongoing basis.  On the adoption of a School Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs the school asks all parents/guardians to ensure that the school has at least two contact phone numbers plus the name of a responsible adult/family member to whose care their child may be entrusted if they are not available.  This is to cover all incidents related to this policy and other accidents or emergencies as may occur.

 It is policy ofKillinardenCommunitySchoolto inform parents/guardians in relation to all matters covered in this policy to include

  • Suspected Use or Possession
  • Actual Use of Possession
  • Dealing or Suspected Dealing

 The School believes that the best interests of the students are served when home and school work together.

  2.    Managing Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs Related Incidents

 The School Approach

 The school acknowledges that in all situations involving drugs, there is a need for a balance between the needs of the young person, the needs of the school community and the reputation of the school.

 ü     Listening, establishing the facts and providing support will be our initial approach to the situation.  Disciplinary procedures will be necessary if school rules are broken and exclusion (subject to students rights under the Education and Welfare Act 2000) will be an option when all else has failed.  Procedures are in place to handle specific drug incidents.

 ü     See Appendices: 1,2,3,4.

 Where suspicion is based on disclosure, the rights and anonymity of persons will be upheld.

 The Board of Management will be informed and may decide on further action.

  3.    Training and Staff Development

 KillinardenCommunitySchoolis committed to ongoing staff training and development in this area.  With this in mind the school will facilitate regular in-service/training.

  4.    Monitoring, Review and Evaluation

 KillinardenCommunitySchoolrecognises that in light of changing needs this policy will be subject to regular reviews and evaluations.

 5.   Storage and Disposal of suspected alcohol, tobacco and drug


 Where a member of staff or a student finds or is alerted to the existence of a suspicious substance, such finds must be reported immediately to the Principal.  Any suspicious substance will be stored by the school in a secure location.  The Gardaí will be contacted in order to remove the substance; establish its nature and arrange for its disposal.



 (a)              Emergencies when the person may be unconscious or incoherent.

 (b)             A situation where a person exhibits unusual behaviour possibly due to drugs or alcohol.

 (c)              Response to use or suspected use.

 1.       Secure the person’s safety.

 2.       If possible ascertain what he/she has taken/consumed.

 3.       If the person is unconscious or incoherent call an ambulance.

 4.       Inform the Principal, Deputy Principal, Year Head.

 5.       Inform Parents and require that they take responsibility for the person by taking him/her home.

 6.       If a parent/guardian is not immediately available the person may be left with a responsible adult providing that adult agrees to assume the responsibility.

 7.       Refer to Procedures (Appendix 2 a, 2 b) which while invoking a spirit of support and advice will have due regard for the school code of discipline as outlined under The Management of Alcohol, Tobacco, Solvents and Drug Related Incidents – The School Approach.

 8.       With regard to (c) above, such procedures as outlined in Appendix 2a, 2b will be applied as necessary. 


 Procedure re: Actual Possession of Drugs, Solvents, Alcohol.

 1.       Confiscate substance where possible in the presence of another teacher.

 2.       Students are accompanied to the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head.

 3.       Mindful of obligations regarding Storage, Preservation and Disposal the school will:

 (i).     Take possession of the substance, record details and ascertain weather the student has taken/used the substance.

          N.B.  If the situation is deemed serious enough as to constitute and emergency, then the procedure outlined in Appendix 1 is to be followed.

 (ii)      Seek to verify the exact nature of the substance.  This may involve the Gardaí or outside expertise available to the school.

 (iii)     Contact parents, inform them of the circumstances and all procedures regarding possession of drugs, solvents, alcohol as per school policy.

 (iv)            Contact Social Services/Gardaí as appropriate.

 4.       The student will be required to meet with the school Guidance Counsellors and may be required to undertake specific tasks e.g. linking with outside drug addiction counsellor, doctor, Gardaí, project as necessary to fit the circumstance.  Parents and students to be advised as to specific services available locally.

 5.       Mindful of the school’s duty of care and while invoking a spirit of support and advice, disciplinary procedures will be necessary if school rules are broken.  The school reserves the right to exclude a student from the school.  In such circumstances parents/guardians have the right to appeal such exclusion, under Section 29 of the Education and Welfare Act 2000.

 6.       The school will keep a record of all details regarding the incident


 Procedure re: Suspected Possession of Drugs, Solvents, Alcohol


  1. Student is accompanied to the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head.
  2. The Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head will outline the allegation to the student and seek his/her co-operation in establishing the truth.
  3. Parents will be contacted.
  4. Mindful of the schools duty of care, the school reserves the right to take appropriate action to investigate the allegation and establish the truth.
  5. Should possession be confirmed, then reference will be made to Appendix 2(a) relating to actual possession of drugs, solvents or alcohol.


 Procedure re: Disclosure of information pertinent to any substances referred to in this policy.

 Mindful of the duty of care which applies to school personnel and that teachers act in loco parentis (in place of parents) the school will fully investigate any matter brought to the attention of school authorities in relation to Drugs, Solvents, Alcohol and Tobacco.

 Depending on the outcome, procedures as outlined in this policy will be followed.