DepEd orders random drug tests in private, public schools
- Rainier Allan Ronda () - January 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The Department of Education (DepEd) will again conduct random drug tests among students in public and private high schools this year following reports of an increasing number of young people using illegal drugs.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus ordered the DepEd’s Health and Nutrition Center (HNC), headed by Thelma Santos, to start coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) for the random drug testing in high schools throughout the country.

“It’s timely to do this as illegal drugs seem be rampant, for the protection of the studentry,” Lapus said.

Lapus said that administering surprise drug tests would be a deterrent to drug users or pushers.

“Random drug testing in selected urban high schools has been done in the past and there have been some positive findings,” Lapus said.

The DepEd had conducted random drug tests from 2003 to 2006 but has not done any in the past two school years.

In the last round of the random drug tests conducted in school year 2005-06, .77 percent or 67 out of 8,670 students tested positive for illegal drug use.

Fifty students or 75 percent of the 67 students came from public schools.

Lapus issued the order to conduct random drug tests as a result of recent news reports about young people using illegal drugs, including the recent arrest of a student for possession of drugs as well as the P50-million bribery scandal at the Department of Justice involving the so-called “Alabang Boys.”

Part of DepEd’s responsibility is to strengthen the government’s National Drug Education Program (NDEP) and allow all sectors to collaborate with schools in an effort to prevent illegal drug use among the youth.

NDEP aims to prevent drug abuse among students in basic education through the development of values, attitudes, and practices. It also works to maximize utilization of school resources, which can contribute to the child’s cognitive, affective and psychomotor development relative to drug abuse prevention.

ALABANG BOYS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DRUG DRUG EDUCATION PROGRAM DRUGS BOARD EDUCATION SECRETARY JESLI LAPUS HEALTH AND NUTRITION CENTER LAPUS THELMA SANTOS
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