Drug Use and Abuse Policy

It is within this framework of care for the individual student, that the following guidelines concerning drugs and alcohol are written.

The Policy is based upon the following principles:

  • that alcohol and nicotine are a major cause of drug-related harm;
  • that the goal of no illicit drugs in schools is a stated goal in Government policies;
  • that drug use occurs along a continuum ranging from non-use, experimentation, occasional/situational use, habitual and intensive use and that both prevention and intervention efforts are necessary aspects of an effective drug policy;
  • that there is a need for a standardised approach to drug education and welfare procedures to be maintained across year levels;
  • that there is a need to ensure that the School staff will implement this Policy with care and support for students;
  • that this Policy will have consequences for the whole School community, including students, teachers, and parents/guardians.

1.DRUGS

  • The School recognises that drugs are available in the general community and that some boys and girls may procure drugs for the purpose of experimentation.  The School will do all in its power to educate parents and students that the safest use of drugs is no use.
  • In adopting a policy of drug prevention/harm prevention in the School’s drug education curriculum, a concerted effort is being made to promote knowledge and skills so that students can make educated and informed decisions about drugs, while fully realising that abstinence is the safest minimum. Every avenue will be taken to dispel the myth that ‘it is fine to take drugs providing one keeps it to a minimum’.
  • Whatever might be the outcome of debates and passing fashions concerning the legalisation of drugs in the wider community, the School will view providers/suppliers of mood-altering drugs as people who endanger the health and future potential of others and consequently may terminate their membership of the School community. The common good is paramount.
  • Despite what one might read about so-called ‘soft’ drugs in the media, the School accepts the common view of research scientists that cannabis is the single most dangerous illegal substance that is easily and cheaply available to school-aged children. Considerable clinical evidence has demonstrated the physical and psychological harm caused by cannabis which “tiptoes into the brain and snips the wiring.” (Tom Scott, The Great Brain Robbery - What Everyone Should Know About Teenagers and Drugs)
  • The School’s principal aim in its drug education prevention courses is to promote abstinence and harm prevention in the student body.  The School acknowledges that some students may need specialist intervention and treatment. See section on “Intervention” below.
2.SANCTIONED DRUG USE

Prescribed or Medicinal Drug Use
Students who need to use prescribed and medicinal drugs within the School’s jurisdiction must:

  • do so always under the supervision of School staff
  • have written approval of one’s parent/guardian, and

Students who use inhalers are required to carry them at all times.  Additional inhalers, i.e. ventolin, will be kept in the Administration Office. Students will be required to identify and recognise the inhaler type as appropriate for their use when self-administering an inhaler borrowed from school.


3.ALCOHOL

It is an offence under Western Australian law to obtain alcohol for, or supply alcohol to, young people under 18 years of age.  If alcohol is served at a School function or within the School where students are present, a warning concerning this legislation must be issued to adults conducting the function.

At any School function where it is proposed that alcohol be served, the Principal shall require those involved in functions to abide by the following conditions.  The function organiser is responsible for ensuring that all the following conditions are observed:

  • a choice of beverage is to be available for those attending, including an ample supply of non-alcoholic beverages;
  • all drinks are to be served in a suitable environment, by responsible persons;
  • no student is to serve or be served alcohol;
  • any person behaving objectionably will be required to leave the premises.

4.UNSANCTIONED DRUG USE

Save for special circumstances, students are not permitted, when under the School’s jurisdiction, to use, or to be under the influence of, any drug or substance.

The following substances are prohibited:

4.1 Tobacco
The School buildings are tobacco-free zones and students are not permitted to use or possess tobacco products.  Staff, parents, visitors and community members will be required to refrain from its use within the School grounds.

4.2 Alcohol
Students are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol.

4.3 Solvents and Industrial Products
Students are not permitted to use inappropriately, solvents, inhalants or other industrial products.

4.4 Illegal Drugs
This policy acknowledges that any drug can be used illegally. Sanctions will result for the inappropriate use of prescribed or over-the-counter medicines.

  • Students are not permitted to possess, consume, or supply an illegal drug.  The possession, supply, or use of an illegal drug is an offence against the law.  In the case of a student being found in the possession of, or under the influence of, an illegal drug, his/her parents will be informed and the police may be notified.
  • Should a student find a needle or syringe on School property, they should not touch it or allow any other person to touch it.  They should alert a member of staff, who will arrange for it to be disposed of, in accordance with safe handling procedures.
  • Students are not allowed to possess illegal drug-related objects.

4.5 Performance Enhancing Substances
No performance enhancing substances can be recommended or supplied by School coaches or athletes unless approved by the Principal who consults with appropriate medical advisors.  Approval must also be sought from athletes’ parents.  ‘Performance enhancing substances’ includes ‘legal’ substances such as creatine, body building powders, vitamin supplements, sodium bicarbonate etc.


5.SANCTIONS

Students who provide/supply mood-altering drugs (regardless of their legality) to others may be asked to leave the GMAS Community.

The response of the School to other drug-related offences will take into account the nature and circumstances of the offence, and the record of the student.  The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being of students is the priority.

Sanctions available to the School include:
i)          informing and consulting parents
ii)         providing counselling
iii)         loss of privileges
iv)        suspension from school
v)         referral to external agencies
vi)        notification of Police
viii)       transfer to another school

Sanctions will be taken as appropriate to the individual case.  The Principal retains the right to decide upon appropriate sanctions in all circumstances. 


Intervention

The School will provide an intervention component for those students for whom preventative curriculum efforts have been unsuccessful.

Incidents will be dealt with in a positive, supportive manner and in the best interests of the student, staff, School and general School Community.

The identification of problems can occur in three ways:

i)
Students may voluntarily approach staff members.
ii)
Students may be identified through action resulting from inappropriate use of drugs.
iii)
School staff can approach the Principal, Deputy Principal, Heads of School, Tutors,
Chaplain to express concerns about a particular school member.

Judgements can then be made as to whether further action is warranted.  If so, a confidential interview can be arranged with the student to attempt to determine whether a problem exists and to select a course of action.  If an illegal drug is involved, then the Police may be informed.


6.STUDENT AFFECTED BY A DRUG

In the event of a student appearing to be under the influence of a drug, the School administration will seek medical advice.  The School will attempt to notify parents/guardians before any referral to any medical agencies is made, or as soon as is possible.


7.DUE PROCESS

In the event of an investigation by the School staff into suspected or apparent drug use or drug possession, due processes will be followed with as much discretion as is possible in the circumstances.  Heads of Schoolwill be involved from the outset in the interests of providing maximum pastoral care to students and families during a difficult time.


8.NOTIFICATION OF POLICE

In the event of a suspected or apparent drug offence being notified to police, the School will ensure that any student under such investigation will receive due and adequate representation.  Heads of School or other pastoral care teachers may accompany students to any interviews to give background on the student.  The parents or guardians of any student so concerned will be notified as soon as possible in this event.