Howard by cuiliqing


   Primary School

 Misuse of Substances/
Drugs Education Policy
    Reviewed September 2009


In to-day’s society many young people are exposed to glamorous
and unrealistic messages in relation to drugs and their effects.

Combined with ineffective Government policies, this often leads
to misuse and abuse by impressionable and vulnerable young

Whilst we recognise that parents are the primary educators of
their children, we realise that our school, Howard Primary, is
well placed to provide strong support and care in the area of
substance misuse.

As such, we encourage our pupils to develop personal and social
skills that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding
substance misuse.

We recognise that an asserted approach for supporting young
people in substance education is to create an ethos within
Howard Primary School which promotes individual empowerment
and values, such as:

     tolerance
     openness
     honesty
     respect
     caring for oneself and others.

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For the purpose of this document the term ‘drugs’ will include any
substance which, when taken, has the effect of altering the way
the body works or the way a person behaves, feels, sees or
thinks. As well as everyday substances such as tea and coffee,
drugs include:

   Alcohol and tobacco
   ‘over the counter’ medicines such as paracetemol
   Prescribed drugs such as antibiotics, tranquillisers, inhalers
    and Ritalin
   Volatile substances such as correcting fluids, lighter fuel
    and petrol
   Controlled drugs such as cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, speed,
    heroin, cocaine and processed magic mushrooms
   Other substances such as poppers and unprocessed magic

Drug Misuse

For the purpose of this document, taking drugs, (other than
prescribed drugs taken in the manner directed by a physician) in
order to produce a desired mental or behavioural change, is
misuse of drugs.

Please see Appendix 1: Recognising Signs of Drug Abuse


CSIO….Community and Schools Involvement Officer

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   To help our pupils to be aware of harmful substances
    through areas of the Curriculum:
    e.g. Love For Life Programme, Science Topics, Kidscape
    Programme, Visit to School by the Police Service for
    Northern Ireland, etc.

   To establish prevention as the main approach to substance

   To introduce opportunities for pupils to enhance their self-
    respect, personal competence and self-respect by
    encouraging the development of:

                  Positive attitudes and behaviours
                   towards themselves and others

                  Skills and behaviours which enable
                   them to communicate effectively
                   and assertively

                  The ability to make personal
                   decisions, identify risks, help
                   others and cope with pressures and

   To establish an environment free from the misuse of all
    substances and harmful litter which may be thrown down,
    e.g. discarded alcohol bottles or cans.

   To provide guidance on the protocols to be used in
    suspected or real substance misuse.

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Learning Intentions

   To provide factual      information   and    knowledge     about

   To establish and develop personal, social and moral skills
    that will enable a young person to make positive, informed

   To use appropriate resources to help our pupils in Howard
    Primary School to be aware of the dangers of misuse of
    substances and drugs, e.g. posters, etc.

   To use appropriate outside Agencies to reinforce how
    important it is for our pupils to know how to deal with
    harmful drugs and to know what happens to a young person
    when they may get involved with drugs.

   To develop in our pupils, through various class activities,
    skills, attitudes, values and abilities which will enable them
    to be effective in a variety of real life situations.

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It is the policy of Howard Primary School to comply with the
legal requirements laid down in The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971)
(See Appendix 2) and other relevant legislation. Other relevant
legislation includes:

   Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) order 1989
   The Medicines Act 1968
   Criminal Law Act 1967

In keeping with requirements it is our intention to publish
relevant sections of our:

            ‘Misuse of Substances/Drugs Education Policy’
            in our annual School Prospectus

A copy of the Policy may also be obtained from the school.

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School Approach

It is the view of Howard Primary School that education
surrounding drugs/substance misuse should not be taught in
isolation, but rather as an integral part of the Curriculum and
integrated within the Area of Personal Development.

This involves developing a set of values and skills that will aid in
producing rounded ‘whole’ pupils:

             Physically
             Intellectually
             Emotionally
             spiritually

The aims stated         above   may   be   fulfilled   through   pupils’
experiences in:

   the taught curriculum,
   the informal curriculum,
   extra-curricular activities

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Roles and Responsibilities

A response to a substance-related issue is not just the
responsibility of the teaching staff within Howard Primary

A multidisciplinary approach is used to deal with all issues
relating to drugs/substance misuse.

Included are:

   School Principal

   Board of Governors

   Designated Drugs Officer

   Personal Development Curriculum Co-ordinator

   Child Protection Officer

   All Members of Staff

   External Agencies

Role of Individual Staff Members (Teaching and Non-Teaching)

Individual staff members are likely to be the first to encounter
a suspected drugs related incident. It is not their responsibility
to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident,
however, they should deal with any emergency procedures as
necessary. Any information, substance or paraphernalia received
should be forwarded to the designated teacher for drugs who will
then take immediate action. A factual report of the suspected
incident should be completed and forwarded to the designated
teacher for drugs. (Appendix 3)

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Role of the Principal

It is the principal’s responsibility to determine the circumstances
of all incidents but it is the responsibility of the PSNI to
investigate any criminal offence. In any suspected drug-related
incident the principal should make every effort to contact the
parents of the pupil involved. The principal should ensure that in
any incident involving a controlled drug there is close liaison with
the police. After contacting the police, the principal will confine
her responsibilities to the welfare of the pupil involved, the
other pupils in the school and the handling, storage and safe
disposal of any drugs or drugs related paraphernalia. The
principal will inform the Board of Governors and the SELB of the

Role of the Designated Teacher

The duties of the designated teacher include the oversight and
co-ordination of the planning of curricular provision, in compliance
with the statutory requirements. The designated teacher is
responsible for co-ordinating the school’s procedures for handling
drug-related incidents and ensuring all staff are aware of these
procedures. The designated teacher will act as contact for
outside agencies.

Role of the Governors

School Governors should foster and support the on-going review
of the drugs policy and education programme. The Governors
should examine and approve the school’s policy and ensure it is
documented in the school prospectus and available to parents
upon request.

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Responding       to     Misuse   of    Substances   and   Related

For the purpose of this policy a suspected drugs-related incident

   Inappropriate behaviour
   An allegation
   Possession of controlled drugs and/or possession with intent
    to supply controlled drugs
   Finding drugs related paraphernalia

Dealing with suspected drugs related incidents requires extreme
sensitivity on the part of all those involved.
In the unlikely event of an incident occurring in Howard Primary
School, we will follow the practices and procedures stated in the
Misuse of Substance Flowchart (Appendix 4).

In addition, parents/guardians will be immediately notified, as
will the Board of Governors and the CSIO, PSNI Officer, in
order that investigations into the source of, and possible
trafficking in, illegal substances can be expedited.

Our policy in Howard Primary School, in these matters is to
proceed with the utmost discretion and sensitivity, bearing in
mind the need to protect the rights of the pupil concerned, their
families and our school. However, it will be made clear to our
pupils that no guarantee of confidentiality can be offered if
he/she discloses to an employee that he/she is taking drugs.

Due    to    the   seriousness  of    substance      misuse,    any
incidences/knowledge must be reported to:

   the Principal (Mrs L Allen) and
   the Designated Teacher (Mrs S Watters)

who will ensure that proper action is taken to protect that pupil.

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On occasion, schools may have to deal with a parent/guardian who
is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In such
circumstances the staff involved should attempt to maintain a
calm atmosphere. If a member of staff has concerns about
discharging a pupil into the care of a parent/guardian under such
circumstances, they should contact the principal or vice-principal
immediately. If possible, alternative arrangements for the care
of the child should be discussed with the parent. If this is not
possible and it is felt that the behaviour of a parent may put a
child at risk, staff must consider invoking child protection

The focus of staff, under conditions of ‘loco parentis’, should
always be the maintenance of the child’s welfare

Procedures to be followed:

Pupil under influence:

  1. Ensure immediate safety of pupil and others and administer
     first aid if and when necessary.
  2. Inform the Designated Teacher/Principal
  3. Inform pupil’s parents.
  4. Inform CSIO and the EWO.

Pupil suspected/known to be in possession of a substance:

  1. Pupil will be asked to surrender the substance whereupon it
     will be placed under lock and key until collected by CSIO.
  2. If a pupil refuses to comply, he/she will be escorted to the
     Designated Teacher/Principal who will make a further
  3. If the pupil refuses to accompany a responsible adult to the
     Designated Teacher/Principal, the Principal will be sent for
     while the adult remains in close proximity to the pupil.

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  4. If pupil refuses to surrender substance to the Principal
     he/she shall remain with Principal and other adult until
     parents /Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) arrives.

Pupil Dealing

Designated Teacher/Principal should be informed immediately
whereupon the CSIO will be contacted.

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The Principal of Howard Primary School, Mrs Linda Allen, will
take responsibility for liaison with the media.

Recording and Referral

Appendix 3 (I, ii and iii) will be used to record and refer
information to both the SELB and any other relevant employing
authority eg. in the case of students involvement.

Managing External Agencies

We acknowledge the importance of ensuring that any external
agencies used to support our work with our pupils must adhere to
the values and ethos particular to our school.

As a school we need to be aware of the importance of a contract
being agreed upon by all contributory parties.

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Safety in the School

The    school has several members of staff qualified to give first
Mrs    J Hardy
Mrs    S Watters
Mrs    Edwards
Mrs    E Brownlee
Mrs    L Gallagher

All substances and associated paraphernalia will be collected,
stored under lock and key and delivered to the CSIO from the

Staff Development

Opportunities to update and train staff regarding            issues
surrounding drugs/substance misuse are made available.

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Related School Policies

This policy is set within the broader school context of Pastoral
Care and as such it is our intention that it be read in conjunction
with the following school policies/aspects.

   Pastoral Care Policy

   Personal Development Curriculum Policy

   Child Protection Policy

   Behaviour Policy

   First Aid Resources

   Storage and Administration of Medication Aspects

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                 Monitoring, Reviewing and Evaluating

Periodic review of our Drugs/Substance Misuse Policy will take
place to reflect changing circumstances and trends.

Evaluation will cover two areas:

      The effectiveness of the policy to assist pupils in
       resisting the lure of substance misuse.

      The effectiveness of the procedures and practices in
       place to deal with substance related incidents.

To this end it is our intention that we follow the procedures for
self evaluation as outlined in the DE document ‘Together Towards

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Appendix 1

Recognising Signs of Drug Use

Below are specific physical and behavioural signs that may be associated with
drug use but it should be noted that some of these can also be confused with
the onset of adolescence:

Physical Signs

These can differ depending on the type of drug taken, for example stimulant or
hallucinogenic. Below are some of the physical signs related to those drugs used
illicitly in Northern Ireland.


Solvents include glues, butane gas refills, aerosols, typewriting correcting fluids
and thinners.

          Usual signs of intoxication – uncoordinated movement, slurred speech;
          Possible odour on clothes and breath;
          If using glue, redness around the mouth and nose;
          A cough; and
          Possible stains on clothing, etc., depending on type of solvent used.


Cannabis can have the effect of a depressant or mild hallucinogen, depending on
the amount taken and situational factors. The effects of taking cannabis

      Tendency to laugh easily;
      Becoming talkative;
      More relaxed behaviour;
      Redding of the eyes; and
      Hunger.

If the drug is smoked, it produces a distinctive sweet smell.


Ecstasy is sometimes referred to as an hallucinogenic stimulant. Its effects will
therefore include those listed for stimulants. In addition, it can cause:

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      Increased temperature;
      Perhaps excessive sweating;
      Very dry mouth and throat;
      Jerky, uncoordinated movements;
      Clenched jaws;
      Occasional nausea when first used; and
      Fatigue after use, but also possibly some anxiety, depression and muscle

Stimulant drugs (amphetamines [speed], butyl nitrite [poppers], cocaine)

The effects can result in:

      Increased pulse rate;
      Increased blood pressure;
      Agitation;
      Lack of coherent speech or talkativeness;
      Dilated pupils;
      Loss of appetite;
      Damage to nasal passages;
      Increased tendency to go to the toilet;
      Mouth ulcers, and
      Fatigue after use.

Hallucinogens (LSD, Magic Mushrooms)

Effects can vary depending on nature of experience.
They include:

          Relaxed behaviour;
          Agitated behaviour;
          Dilation of pupil of eye; and
          Uncoordinated movements.

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Heroin acts as a depressant. The effects of taking heroin include:

      Slowing down of breathing and heart rate;
      Suppression of cough reflex;
      Increase in size of certain blood vessels;
      Itchy skin;
      Runny nose;
      Lowering of body temperature, and
      Sweating.

Behavioural Signs

Drug use can often result in behavioural changes and the ability to recognise
them demands some prior knowledge of the person in order that an accurate
comparison can be made.

Such changes can be obvious or very subtle and may be due to some other reason
totally unconnected with drug use.

Signs can include:

      Efforts to hide drug use through lying, evasiveness and secretive
      Unsatisfactory reasons for unexpected absences or broken promises;
      Changes in friendships;
      Changes in priorities, including less concern with school work; less care of
       personal appearance, non-attendance at extra-curricular activities;
      Efforts to get money for drug use, ranging from saving dinner or
       allowance money, borrowing from friends and relatives and selling own
       possessions, stealing from friends and home and involvement in petty
       crime; and
      Secretive telephone calls.

Other possible signs include;
Being very knowledgeable about drugs and the local drug scene;
A defensive attitude towards drugs and drug taking;
Unusual outbreaks of temper;
Absence from, or poor performance at, school, or work experience, on days
following attendance at night club, bars, etc; and
A pattern of absences on a certain day, for example, Monday.

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These signs may often only become apparent in pupils who are using drugs on a
regular basis. It can be difficult to see such signs in the experimental or casual
drug user.

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Appendix 2:

Misuse of Drugs Act (1971)

It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971):

      To supply or offer a controlled drug to another in contravention of the
      To be in possession of, or to possess with intent to supply to another, a
       controlled drug in convention of the Act.
      It is a defence, to the offence of possession that, knowing or
       suspecting it to be a controlled drug, the accused took possession of
       it for the purpose of preventing another from committing or continuing
       to commit an offence and that as soon as possible after taking
       possession of it he/she took all such steps as were reasonably open to
       him/her to destroy the drug or to deliver it into the custody of a
       person lawfully entitled to take custody of it;
      For the occupier or someone concerned in the management of any
       premises knowingly to permit or suffer on those premises the smoking of
       cannabis; or the production, attempted production, supply, attempted
       supply, or offering to supply of any controlled drug.

The offences listed above are arrestable offences.

Section 8: a person commits an offence if, being the occupier or concerned in
the management of any premises, he/she knowingly permits or suffers any of
the following activities to take place on those premises, that is to day:

      Producing or attempting to produce a controlled drug in contravention of
       section 4 (1) of this Act;
      Supplying or attempting to supply a controlled drug to another in
       contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act, or offering to supply a
       controlled drug to another in contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act;
      Preparing opium for smoking;
      Smoking cannabis resin or prepared opium.

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Appendix 3 (i)

     Drugs and Substance Misuse Incident Report Form
              (Form to be completed by Teacher involved in Incident)

Nature of Incident:

Date: ____________       Time: ___________________________

Venue: _____________________________________________

Pupil(s) Involved:

Teacher Response:

Substance given to designated teacher/principal:      Yes   □   No     □
Report to designated teacher: Yes□          No   □
Report to Principal:    Yes □ No □

Signed: __________________________ Date: ____________________

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Appendix 3 (ii)

School Record and Checklist
       (To be completed and held as record by Principal/Designated Teacher)

Date: _________________________________

Nature of Incident:


Substance in secure storage:        ________ (please tick)

Staff involved:

Report from staff attached: _________ (yes/no)

Details of Pupil(s) involved:

Name                                           Class

Informed (Circle as appropriate):

        Parent(s)/Guardian(s):                    Yes   /   No
        Local CSIO:                               Yes   /   No
        Board of Governors:                       Yes   /   No
        SELB:                                     Yes   /   No
        Employing Authority if not SELB:          Yes   /   No
        Other relevant Bodies:                    Yes   /   No
        Action plan for pupil support in place:   Yes   /   No

Signed: _____________________________(Principal/Designated Teacher)

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Appendix 3 (iii)


             (To be completed by member of staff involved in incident)

Name of School:            ______________________________________

Address:                   ______________________________________


Telephone No.:             _________________

Date:                      _________________

Principal:                 ______________________________________

Contact Teacher:           ______________________________________

Details of incident: ______________________________________

Substance (if identified): ___________________________________

I have completed the checklist outlined in Appendix 3 (i)      Yes □ No □

Signed: ____________________________ (Member of staff involved)

Date:        __________________________ (Designated teacher for drugs)

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Appendix 4

                     Misuse of Substance Flowchart

          Staff involved access

                                                   If problem not urgent,
        Make situation safe for                    discuss with designated
       all pupils (call first aider                   teacher after the
              if necessary)                                incident

    Send immediately for additional
            staff support

                                           teacher investigates
                                           and informs:

                                              1.   Parent
                                              2.   Police
       Inform designated teacher              3.   SELB
             and Principal                    4.   Employing Authority
                                                   if not the SELB

                                               Invoke disciplinary
          Complete incident                  procedures (if necessary)
            report form

                                              Review procedures and
                                                alter, if necessary

Appendix 5

Reference Materials

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Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures April 2005

Children (NI) Order 1995 ‘The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2000’

DE Circular ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)’ 2001/15

DE Circular ‘Drugs: Guidance for Schools’ 2004/9

DE Circular ‘Pastoral Care in Schools’ 1999/10

Drugs: Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland
      2004        ISBN 1 85885 652 3

Evaluating Pastoral Care 1999

Guidance for Primary Schools: Relationships and Sexuality Education
      2001        ISBN 85885 209 9

Guidance for Post Primary Schools: Relationships and Sexuality Education
      2001         ISBN 85885 209 9

Integrating Personal Safety Programmes into the Curriculum: Child Protection
      1999        ISNB 85885 202 1

Pastoral Care in Schools: Child Protection

The Education and Libraries (NI) Order 2003

Together Towards Improvement: A Process for Self-Evaluation
     Department of Education ETI

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
     Article 3; Article 12; Article 19

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