DRUG TESTING OF STUDENTS

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Alabang Boys” mess caused a stir in media and this prompted President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to proclaim herself as the “Drug Czar” and she ordered the immediate nationwide random drug testing of high school students to determine the current incidence of drug use, to provide a deterrent for this those using drugs and to provide the necessary services they need to stop further use. Thus, starting in February 2009 and towards the end of the year, an estimated 85,000 students would be randomly selected and tested. The final results may take next year to be announced.

According to Section 36 of the Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), students of secondary and tertiary schools, shall, pursuant to related rules and regulations as contained in the school’s handbook, and with notice to parents, undergo drug testing, whether in public or private schools, and such cost will be borne by the government. Now, the DOH is proposing amendments to the new law for drug testing to be made mandatory and the fees shall now be borne by the student. Also, in order for the mandatory drug testing to be effective, the implementation scheme should provide mechanisms that would ensure that the students do not know the time when the drug testing will be conduted. This means that the students can be tested anytime during the school year (from enrolments to the closing of the school year). In this case, the problem of addiction can be nipped at the bud.

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