DRUGS AND SUBSTANCES USE AND MISUSE

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1 OAKBANK SCHOOL POLICY DOCUMENT DRUGS AND SUBSTANCES USE AND MISUSE Prepared by (member of staff): David Maxwell Approved by Governing Body Sub- Committee: School Improvement Group Ratified by Full Governing Body: July September September 2014 Signed off by Chair of Governing Body: Jan Firth Statement of Policy: 1

2 Oakbank School believes that the use and misuse of drugs and substances constitutes a major threat to individuals, families and the wider community. Education can play a key role in ensuring that young people know the risks and consequences of drug taking and are provided with the knowledge and skills to resist. The essential aims are to give students facts, emphasise the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and give them the knowledge and skills to make informed and responsible choices now and later in life. Our aims are: To ensure that all staff, students and their parents understand the school s policy on drugs; To ensure that safe, simple and effective procedures control the use of medicines in school; To maintain an educational environment where students are not exposed to illegal substances, alcohol, or the abuse of solvents and have no opportunities for coming into contact with them; To discourage smoking; To ensure that all students receive appropriate and accurate education about issues relating to the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, solvents and illegal substances, as part of the school s health education provision, with a view to helping them to make informed and sensible choices; In dealing with incidents involving drugs or alcohol abuse, to ensure that the health and safety of those involved and of other students and staff in contact with them, is the priority; To handle the disciplinary repercussions of incidents involving breaches of the school s policy on drugs in fair, appropriate, proportionate and effective ways. The Law on Drugs: It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: To supply or offer to supply a controlled drug to another in contravention of the Act. To be in possession of, or to possess with intent to supply to another, a controlled drug in contravention 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 purposes of preventing another from committing or continuing to commit an offence and that as soon as possible after taking it, he took all such steps as were reasonably open to him to destroy the drug or to deliver it into the custody of a personal 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. Educational Issues: Where a teacher is told, or is aware of possible activity outside school premises, the Police will be informed in the interests of safeguarding the health and safety of young people in the area. This would include not only information about the supply of illegal drugs but also, for example, evidence that a local shopkeeper was selling alcohol, cigarettes or solvents to students in contravention of the law. 2

3 Whilst the school acknowledges that the numbers of young people who use and misuse substances is rising, it is seen as important to recognise that a large number of young people are choosing not to use or misuse substances. The school will continue to provide guidance. The school believes and supports the following educational aims in respect of substance use and misuse: To enable students to make healthy, informed choices by increasing knowledge, challenging attitudes and developing and practising social, communication and assertiveness skills. To provide accurate information about substances and their potential dangers. To increase an understanding about the implications and possible consequences of use and misuse. To widen understanding about related health and social issues, eg sex and sexuality, crime, HIV and AIDS. To enable young people to identify sources of appropriate personal support. To create a supportive, non-judgemental atmosphere whereby students feel confident in raising concerns and seeking help. To provide appropriate regular INSET for all staff. OBJECTIVES a) Increasing knowledge, changing attitudes and enhancing skills To provide opportunities for students to acquire knowledge and understanding about the dangers of drug misuse and the reasons why people use drugs. To provide opportunities for students to be equipped with the knowledge, attitudes and appropriate personal and social skills they need to avoid the problematic use of drugs. To provide opportunities for students to work with younger peers in developing knowledge and understanding about the dangers of drugs, through Peer Education sessions. b) Behaviour To prevent young people from engaging in drug misuse. To discourage the onset of first use for those who do experiment at any time. To enable any students who are misusing drugs or who have concerns about the misuse of drugs to seek help. To promote the student s self-esteem so that they are less likely to be exploited or to exploit others. To enhance personal initiative and the acceptance of responsibility more generally, as well as developing assertiveness in appropriate situations. c) Personal, Social, health and Economic Education To increase knowledge of social and personal issues relating to drugs in line with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) standards. To enhance young people s decision-making skills more generally, using drugs education as a vehicle. 3

4 To enhance later parenting skills in relation to prevention of drug misuse when students reach adulthood. CONTEXT Drug awareness education should be provided in the broader context of the teaching of health, personal social and citizenship education as part of a student s life skills and preparation for adulthood. It should aim to involve parents and encourage them to take an interest and share responsibility for their children s drug awareness. It should be delivered in context of the school as part of the community. It should take account of the age, sex and cultural/social background of the students at which it is targeted. It should take account of the local circumstances and culture of the community. It should provide factual and accurate information backed up with consistent advice. It should aim to teach students the necessary social and personal skills described in Objectives a) above. It should give younger students the chance to discuss drugs issues with their older peers who have been trained in Drugs Peer-led Education. When planning for school trips and activities outside school, parents and students should be aware of clear rules on drug use. MANAGING DRUGS, SOLVENTS AND ALCOHOL WITHIN THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY Oakbank aims to send a clear message to the whole school community that the school will not tolerate bringing illegal drugs, solvents or alcohol to school, or having them in one s possession, or using them still less supplying them to other people. The same goes for any equipment associated with drug or solvent us. Oakbank s policy extends to all parts of the school site at any time, whether during the school day, or the school term, or otherwise. It extends to travel between home and school. It extends to all school-sponsored activities, whether on the school site or not including fixtures, trips, visits, residentials etc. It extends to all members of the school community, including students, staff, parents and all visitors to the school. A member of the senior leadership team will have responsibility for overseeing the school s policy and procedures with relation to managing incidents involving drugs, alcohol, solvents etc and keeping records of such incidents on file. At present that person is the Deputy Headteacher. Incidents and concerns about drugs may well be dealt with by other members of SLT or pastoral teams, depending on availability and practical considerations, but all such incidents and concerns must be communicated to the Deputy Headteacher, preferably in writing, as soon as possible. MANAGING INCIDENTS INVOLVING DRUGS ETC 1. Drugs-related incidents include ones where drugs, alcohol or solvents, or associated paraphernalia, are found in the possession of a student, or on the school site, or where a student or non-student are found to be supplying or using drugs on the school site or on a school-sponsored activity; or where a student or non-student is under the influence of drugs on the school site or on a school-sponsored activity; or where a student of member 4

5 of staff makes a disclosure about their own use of drugs; or where third-party information or allegations are received about the use of drugs by students or staff. 2. If a student is or appears to be drunk or high, or is known or believed to have taken substances which might put them at risk, the first priority is to try to ensure their safety. If a student is unconscious, they must be put in the recovery position and first aid in Student Reception must be alerted immediately, as must a senior member of staff. They will call an ambulance. If a student is conscious, once again first aid must be informed immediately, as must a senior member of staff. Make sure you have adult support at hand. If appropriate, take the student to the First Aid room. Reassure them. If in any doubt whatsoever as to the child s safety, get medical help, which will normally involve calling an ambulance. This must always be done if the child has, or is believed to have taken, a deliberate or accidental overdose. 3. In extreme situations where a student is excessively agitated or is acting in ways which may put themselves or others at risk, they may have to be physically restrained in accordance with the school s guidelines (see procedures in policy on Care and Control of Students). 4. Where a student is found to be in possession of drugs, alcohol, or solvents, the substance in question must be taken from them, labelled, and kept in a safe place, preferably in the custody of the member of SLT with responsibility for managing incidents (Deputy Headteacher). If there is doubt as to whether the substance is an illegal drug, police will normally be asked to confirm its identity. If the substance is a class A drug, or constitutes a significant amount, it will normally be handed to a police officer as soon as possible. Small amounts of cannabis may be kept by the SLT named person while they are needed as evidence; they will then be destroyed (normally by flushing down the toilet) or handed to police. Once again, this action will be recorded and filed, with the names and/or numbers of the police officers involved. 5. There have been a number of cases of herbal teas, spices such as garam masala and cooking herbs being passed off in school as drugs. Students need to be aware that supplying any substance as an illegal drug is illegal, whether the substance is, in fact, illegal or not. Bringing any substance into school with the intention of passing it off as an illegal substance is a very serious disciplinary offence. Even if students are not intending deliberately to deceive, they must not bring substances into school which could possibly be mistaken for drugs unless these are directly related to their studies for instance, herbs or spices in Food Technology. 6. When a student is suspected of having illegal drugs, alcohol, or solvents in their possession, the normal procedure is to explain the situation to them and to ask for permission to look through their bag, and then their coat and blazer pockets and socks and shoes. Any such searches must only be carried out by members of pastoral teams or by senior management. Searches of this kind must not be carried out by a member of the opposite sex to that of the student concerned unless another member of staff of the student s sex is present. If the student refuses permission, or if there is strong reason to believe that they do have drugs but that it would need a body-search to find them, the decision may be taken to contact the police, who may decide to conduct a search or to arrest the student. Parents or carers must be informed as soon as possible if police are contacted. 5

6 7. Lockers may be searched without permission if there are strong reasons to suppose that they may contact drugs. 8. Needles will be disposed of in a sharps container kept in the First Aid room. 9. The member of SLT with responsibility for managing drugs-related incidents may, if appropriate, bring them to the attention of the Safer Schools Police Officer or another police officer, and discuss with them the appropriate level of response. 10. Unless there are strong child protection reasons for not doing so, parents and carers will be informed of all drugs-related incidents, including unsubstantiated allegations by third parties about their children s drug use, unless these are evidently frivolous. 11. The sanctions applied will depend upon the circumstances. For first offences involving alcohol, solvents and cannabis, a fixed term exclusion and warning may be the appropriate punishment. Where significant quantities of a drug have been found in a student s possession, or where the student has been supplying drugs to other students, or where the student has previously been warned and has repeated the offence or broken their undertakings, or where the student s drug use presents a significant risk to their own or other people s health and safety, permanent exclusion is very likely to be considered as a possible sanction. Decisions will be taken with the interests of the student in mind, but also with the need to communicate a clear message about the school s determination to protect all students from contact with drugs while they are under the care of the school. 12. Students involved in drugs-related incidents may well be referred, with the consent of their parents or carers, for specialist counselling. They may also be referred to the drugs officer attached to the local Youth Offending Team. SMOKING No one student, adult, staff or visitor is permitted to smoke anywhere with the school site. Please see separate No Smoking policy. SOLVENTS AND VOLATILE SUBSTANCES Departments which use solvents and other hazardous chemicals must have procedures in place to ensure that they are stored securely and that access is managed effectively to prevent theft or inappropriate use. The management of these procedures is the responsibility of the Head of Department concerned. Incidents involving misuse of solvents by students will be handled in the same way as incidents involving misuse of drugs. Consideration will be made as to whether the student needs to be referred to one or more of the various support services. ALCOHOL Bringing alcohol into school, drinking it during the school day, supplying it to other students or coming into school under the influence of drink, are all major disciplinary offences which put the health and safety both of the students directly involved and of staff and students who come into contact with them, at risk. Exclusion is a very likely consequence in such cases. 6

7 In the short term, however, the priority is to address any immediate health and safety issues by getting a drunk child into a quiet and controlled environment, involving the First Aid team, summoning emergency medical help if there is any doubt as to the child s safety and certainly if they are showing signs of losing consciousness and informing parents. Turning up for evening school functions under the influence of alcohol is a disciplinary offence. In most such cases, the immediate priority is to try to contact parents to remove the student in question; to contact the emergency services if the student is at risk or is disrupting the function; to turn the student away if parents cannot be contacted and the student is not at risk and to deal with the disciplinary repercussions the next day. SCHOOL TRIPS, RESIDENTIALS AND OFF-SITE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES Staff leading such activities will emphasise to students, including Post 16 students and where appropriate, to their parents and carers, that normal school rules about drugs, smoking and alcohol apply, as do the normal school sanctions. Staff will make every attempt to ensure that adequate levels of supervision discourage any breaches of the rules. MEMBERS OF STAFF Any breach of the rules on drugs, solvents and alcohol by members of staff will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. 7

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