Illicit Drugs and Unsanctioned Substances Policy

STATEMENT OF POLICY

We are committed to a safe and supportive learning environments in which the health and wellbeing of the students are of paramount importance. Together with parents/caregivers, we have a responsibility to provide students with skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

INTRODUCTION

Catholic schools have a responsibility to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about the use and misuse of drugs. It is essential to respond to drug issues in a genuine, concerned and effective Christian manner, respecting the rights and dignity of all. Catholic Schools have a zero tolerance for the consumption and distribution of illicit drugs and unsanctioned substances

RATIONALE

Catholic schools in the Diocese are guided by Gospel values in addition to operating within legislative requirements. All in our Catholic school communities have the right to have their safety and welfare protected. Catholic schools play significant roles in preparing students for living in society. Catholic schools can contribute to reducing problems relating to the use and possession of illicit and unsanctioned substances by educating staff, by making information available to parents and students, by providing positive role models, by promoting health and by responding to the students’ welfare needs.

Parents and caregivers are crucial partners in the overall education process. A key focus of any healthy school environment should be an education process which empowers parents and equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to support their children during their formative years, particularly with regard to drugs.

POLICY DIRECTIVE

The aim of every school should be the creation of a safe and secure educational environment in which each individual is cherished and respected. Where breaches of this environment occur, policies and procedures should be in place which supports the student and his/her family to face the issues involved.

A drugs education program, covering medical drugs, tobacco and alcohol, as well as illicit drugs, should be a fundamental starting point for every school. Expectations of students, as well as consequences for breaching these expectations, need to be very clearly defined.

  1. Each school in the Townsville Diocese will develop a Drugs Education program which takes into account the Townsville Catholic Education Personal Development Education in a Catholic Context Policy and which includes drug education for students, parents and staff.
  2. Each Catholic school in the Diocese of Townsville will develop its own set of principles and procedures for handling issues related to drugs. These clearly articulated procedures will be based on documents approved by the Townsville Catholic Education Office, such as the Schools Administrative Handbook.
  3. A whole school approach to Drugs Education should be implemented, with each school taking responsibility for an integrated, cross-curricular focus.

DEFINITIONS AND REFERENCES

Definition of Drugs for the purpose of this policy incudes:

  • ILLICIT SUBSTANCES - This term should be taken to cover any substance or item whose possession is prohibited under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986.
  • UNSANCTIONED SUBSTANCES - This term should be taken to cover any substance whose possession, while not illegal, is in contravention of school rules (eg. tobacco products, alcohol and certain medicines).

This policy applies to all Catholic Schools and Colleges, Kindergartens, OHSC and Early Learning Centres of the Townsville Diocese, and the Townsville Catholic Education Office.

Legislation

  • Drugs Misuse Act 1986
  • Queensland Government Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011

Townsville Catholic Education Office documents

  • School Administrative Handbook – Catholic Schools - Guidelines for Managing Drug Related Incidents in Catholic schools
  • Policy - Personal Development Education in a Catholic Context Policy

Policy Number DEC 08_15 Date originally accepted September, 2006; December, 2015
Approved by Diocesan Education Council Date Updated 08 March, 2016