Alcohol and Drug Abuse

1.              PREAMBLE

 

The misuse of alcohol and drugs have increased to an alarming extent over the past few years and have become a major threat to the values and norms of our schools.

 

Unfortunately the youth is becoming the biggest victims of this evil. The problem of drug abuse is aggravated by the availability of the drugs because of distribution by “pushers”.

 

Previously the youth were only using alcohol, dagga and mandrax. The use of hard drugs like cocaine, heroine and crystal meth have however increased to an alarming extent.

 

Dependence of drugs can be psychological or physiological and tolerance thereof is the result of periodic or frequent use that increases to get the desired effect.

 

2.  REASONS FOR THE USE OF ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

 

There are various reasons for the use of alcohol and drugs by the youth. These are inter alia:

 

  • Circumstances at home.

  • Peer pressure.

  • Pressure to achieve at school.

 

Many teenagers take their recourse to drugs, thinking that using it will solve their problems.

 

3.   TYPES OF DRUGS

 Drugs can be divided into two main groups, namely:

 

(a)  Inhibitors e.g. alcohol, opium, morphine, barbiturates, pethadine, etc.

 

(b)  Stimulants e.g. cocaine, mandrax, LSD, amphetamines, dagga, tobacco and volatile substances such as             glue, benzene, petrol and paint thinners.

 

4.    STAGES IN THE USE OF DRUGS

 

(a)    Stage of misuse (when an excessive quantity of drugs leading to sickness is used).

 

(b)    Stage of addiction (when an overpowering and physical need for the use of a drug is prevalent).

 

5.      SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ABUSE

 

  • Talkativeness.

  • Over excitable behaviour.

  • Irritability.

  • Aggressiveness.

  • Appetite loss.

  • Sleepiness.

  • Lying.

  • Losing interest in school. Bunking classes.

  • Stains and smells on clothing and on the body.

  • Stealing to fund the habit.

 

6.    CONSEQUENCES

 

The excessive use of alcohol and drugs lead to diminished health and total decline. It poses a real threat to the public at large as studies indicate that there is a high correlation between alcohol and drug abuse and anti-social behaviour such as violence, sexual violence, gangsterism and theft.

 

7.     CORE PRINCIPLES

 

  The core principles of this policy will be:

 

  • Prevention

  • Intervention / Rehabilitation

  • Sanction

 

7.1    PREVENTION

 

Prevention is better than cure. As educators it is our duty to inform learners and parents about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Therefore education programmes will be implemented to educate learners and their parents of this type of abuse and how to fight it.

 

These programmes will inter alia include:

 

  • Lessons in Drug Education, included in the Learning Area of Life Orientation in the Revised National Curriculum Statement for Grade R to 9 and the National Curriculum for FET.

  • The use of governmental and non-governmental organizations specializing in drug education to augment the education provided by educators at school.

  • Dissemination of literature to parents and guardians on the misuse of alcohol and drugs and all its related problems and miseries.

  • Training for Educators on drug misuse and intervention strategies including counseling, etc.

 

7.2    INTERVENTION / REHABILITATION

 

Learners who use alcohol and drugs will be treated with the necessary sympathy. The school will assist learners’ abuse and dependency problems through a programme of self-help and rehabilitation taking into account the learner’s school and family history, cultural background, intellectual ability and any other relevant information shedding light on the possible reasons for the learner’s dependency.

 

In implementing this programme the school will:

 

  • Do so with the full knowledge, consent and co-operation of the earner’s parents or guardians.

  • Honour the rights of the child as contained in the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • Take into account the safety of the other learners as well as the personnel.

 

7.3    SANCTION

 

While the school recognizes that punitive measures only produces part of the solution in making our schools drug free, we also recognize the fact that other learners also have rights – notably the right to be educated in a “disturbance free” and safe environment.

Disciplinary measures as outlined in the School’s Code of Conduct will therefore be taken against learners who abuse drugs at school or who come to school under the influence of drugs. This also applies to any school event or excursion.

 

Strict enforcement of these measures will especially be taken against learners:

 

  • Who do not wish to be rehabilitated.

  • Whose parents are un-cooperative and do not help in the process – making it difficult to rehabilitate the learner.

  • Who sells (pushes) drugs at school. These learners will be summarily suspended and reported to the South African Police Services.

 

 

8.   CONFIDENTIALITY

 

(a)   All information relating to drug use, misuse or dependency by a learner will be treated as confidential.

 

(b)   The need for confidentially should not prevent the identification and prosecution of drug dealers and                      pushers.

 

9.    SEARCHES

 

(a)   No learner may bring illegal drugs onto the school premises or have such a drug in his / her possession               during a school activity.

 

(b)   The principal or an educator delegated by him / her may, at random, search any group of learners or the              property of a group of learners for illegal drugs if there is  reasonable suspicion that

 

  • An illegal drug may be found on the premises or during a school activity at another venue.

  • That one or more learners on school premises or during a school activity at another venue, are in possession of illegal drugs.

 

(c)   When such search is a body search, such search may only be conducted under the following                               circumstances:

 

  • The principal or his / her delegate conducts the search.

  • The principal or his delegate must be of the same gender as the learner that is being searched.

  • It must be done in private.

  • The search must not extend to any searching of a body cavity.

 

(d)  Any illegal drug that has been seized must be clearly and correctly labeled with the following particulars:

 

  • The name of the learner in whose possession it was found.

  • The time and date of search and seizure.

  • An incident reference number.

  • The name of the person who searched the learner.

  • The name of the witness.

 

(e)   The illegal drug must immediately be handed over to the SAPS for disposal.

 

 

10    DRUG TESTING

 

(a)    Drug testing is an invasion of privacy. The principal or his / her delegate would therefore administer a urine          or other non-invasive test to an individual or any group of learners only if he / she has reasonable                          suspicion that such a learner or learners are using illegal drugs.

 

(b)    Testing must be conducted in the following manner:

 

  • The test must be carried out by a person of the same gender.

  • It must be done in private.

  • An adult of the same gender as the learner must be present as witness.

  • The sample must be clearly labeled with full particulars as set out in 9.4.

  • The parent/s of the learner / learners must be informed within one working day that a test has been conducted.

  • The learner and his / her parents must be informed of the result of the test immediately it becomes available.

 

11.   Disciplinary procedures may be instituted against learners in whose possession illegal drugs were found or          whom have tested positive in a drug test. (See the School’s Code of Conduct). Criminal proceedings may            not be instituted against such learners.

 

12.    DEFINITIONS

 

Addiction / dependencyrefers to the continued use of alcohol and drugs despite its harmful consequences. The user has reached a state where his / her body cannot “do” without the drug.

 

Drugs are any chemical substances which bring about a change in a person’s emotional state, body functioning or behaviour.

 

Illegal drugs refer to a range of drugs of which the production, sale, possession and use is prohibited by law. Alternatively any substance that has a psychological or physiological effect.

 

Intervention happens when the user / learner is confronted with the desperate reality of his / her situation and offered help / treatment.

 

Random drug testing refers to choosing learners at random to be tested (usually by means of a urine sample) for the presence of drugs in the body.

 

Random searching refers to choosing learners at random to be searched for the possession of drugs.

 

Rehabilitation is the structured treatment of the user / learner to get rid of his / her habit / addiction and re-integrate him / her into the school community.

 

School activity means any official educational, cultural, recreational or social activity organized by the school within or outside the school premises.

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