Random drug testing to start Feb. 2

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2009 02:04 AM | Updated as of Jan 25 2009 03:08 AM

The government's random drug-testing program for high school and college students is set to commence on February 2 even though concerned government agencies have not finalized guidelines for its implementation.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Thursday said they are still ironing the guidelines for the random drug tests but confirmed that it will push through on February 2.

Based on guidelines set by CHED, students found positive for drugs will undergo treatment and counseling and will still be accepted in the school after treatment. They also assured that test results will be confidential.

Meanwhile, Deparment of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Thelma Santos said they are confident the drug testing will proceed smoothly without much problem.

Santos said students and parents actually welcomed the drug testings in 2005 and that the testing does not intend to ostracize any student.

She said that in the guidelines then, a student found to be positive for drugs on his first offense will be referred to a physician and monitored by the counselor or principal. If found positive a second time however, the student will be sent to undergo rehabilitation treatment and can be welcomed back in the school after.

Santos however admitted that they can not force anyone to undergo testing, but based on their experience in 2005, no one refused.

DepEd also explained the info is also useful to them because if they find out that certain schools have a high prevalence, they can make a specific intervention.

Some students have said that they welcome the drug testing considering they see the problem first hand in their schools.

Students also said the drug testing will be a big help in solving the drug proliferation problem. Another high school student said it is certainly helpful because they are sent to school to study and not to get into vices. Timi Nubla, ABS-CBN News