by Donella Hosten
Approximately 1 month ago, the National Council On Drug Control (NCODC) began engaging multiple stakeholders in consultations regarding the revision of the National School Policy on Drugs.
The NCODC began looking at the revision process since last year and plans to have the Policy completed by early next year.
In a recent consultation, the issue of mandatory searches being carried out on students was raised. Students will be searched, and according to the NCODC Drug Control Officer, Mr Dave Alexander, these searches ought to follow proper protocol and must not infringe on the rights of the child.
He noted that if a male student has to be searched, then a male teacher must conduct the search; and likewise, female teachers will search female students.
On the topic of prescription medications in schools, Mr Alexander said they are aware that some students may have certain complications, however their teachers must be made aware, should they have to carry their medications to school.
Thus far, stakeholders such as the Child Protection Authority, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, and the Trades Union Council, have been actively involved in the consultations with the NCODC. According to Mrs Elizabeth Japal, Assistant Drug Avoidance Officer, more organisations and groups will be engaged throughout the duration of the consultations.
The revision of the Policy also speaks to the prohibition of alcohol sold at school events and functions.
A call was also made for the country’s Liquor License Act to be revised, as it has been in effect since 1901 and is now outdated. Mr Alexander noted that there are some legal loopholes that ought to be fixed. He said they are “looking at how these provisions can be amended to reduce access and availability to minors.”