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Drugs Policy


St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit



Drugs Policy

March 2019










The school Drugs Education Policy is a statutory document, in accordance with DENI guidelines: Misuse of Drugs - A Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland 2004.


In St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit, we believe that the misuse of drugs endangers not only our pupils but also affects the wider community in which we live. It is the school and nursery’s responsibility to ensure the child's health and safety while in our care and we also strive to promote their personal and social wellbeing. Drug misuse undermines this and hinders the development of the young person.

This policy forms an integral part of our the Personal Development for Mutual Understanding strand of our Primary Curriculum. It provides a focus for the school and nursery to consider how drugs education should be implemented and developed within the curriculum, and outlines the roles, responsibilities and legal duties of key staff. As a school and nursery, we recognise that we have an important role to play in enabling children and young people to make informed and responsible decisions and helping them to cope with living in an increasingly substance-tolerant society. From a wider perspective, it gives parents and the local community an opportunity for involvement in drug issues. The


St. Patrick`s Primary and Magheradroll Nursery Unit recognises that

In today’s society, most people will be exposed to and/or use some sort of drug at some timein their lives. Substance misuse affects all communities in Northern Ireland, crossing gender,cultural and social boundaries. No school, parent or carer can afford to be complacent orthink that children and young people are not at risk.

(CCEA – Drugs Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland 2015).

Young children are exposed to messages about drug use from an early age. The messages they receive from television and the media tend to glamorise the use of drugs. They are likely to have seen parents or older brothers and sisters smoking, drinking or taking pills and medicines. Some children may have already tried alcohol or cigarettes and taken prescribed medicines or other drugs. Inevitably older children want to pass on their knowledge and experiences in an effort to try to influence younger children; these experiences are likely to include their experiments with drugs.

The school and nursery wishes to promote the development of the `whole person' which encompasses physical, mental, emotional, social and environmental health; by equipping pupils with the knowledge skills. attitudes and values to handle their lives effectively in the present and prepare them for adulthood.

Research cites personal inadequacy, a lack of self-esteem and peer pressure as the main reasons for drug misuse among young people. This places a responsibility on the school to ‘better prepare young people for adult life.’ (Education Reform (NI) Order 1989).

The education system can provide a holistic response to substance misuse. This includes:

helping to build the factors that protect children and young people from becoming

involved in substance misuse;

• providing knowledge and skills to make healthier choices and reduce problematic

behaviour and risk; and

• directing children and young people to appropriate services and support, where misuse has been identified.

(CCEA – Drugs Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland 2015).

Drugs education should therefore form an integral part of the school curriculum.



The schools and nursery policy on drugs education covers any substance under the DENI definition (CCEA, 2004/2015)

A drug is any substance which, when taken, has the effect of altering the way a person behaves feels sees or thinks.   As well as everyday products such as tea and coffee, substances include:

• alcohol, tobacco and tobacco-related products, including nicotine replacement therapy

(NRT), and electronic cigarettes;

• over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and cough medicine;

• prescribed drugs, such as antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, inhalers

and stimulants such as Ritalin;

• volatile substances such as correcting fluids or thinners, gas lighter fuel, aerosols, glues

and petrol;

• controlled drugs such as cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, amphetamine sulphate (speed), magic

mushrooms, heroin and cocaine;

• new psychoactive substances (NPS), formerly known as legal highs*, which contain one

or more chemical substances that produce similar effects to illegal drugs and are sold as

incense, salts or plant food and marked ‘not for human consumption’ to avoid prosecution;


• other substances such as amyl or butyl nitrite (known as poppers) and unprocessed magic


Procedures for handling alcohol and tobacco misuse are outlined in Appendix 4. Procedures for handling prescribed medicines and volatile substances are also outlined in Appendix 4.  

This policy complements our school’s Child Protection, Pastoral Care, Discipline and Positive Behaviour, Bullying, Health and Safety and Managing Critical Incidents policies. It does not exist in isolation.


The purpose of a Drugs Education Programme, is to provide opportunities for young people to acquire knowledge, understanding and skills which enable them to consider the effects of drugs and other substances on themselves and on others. It enables them to make informed and responsible decisions about the use of such substances within the context of a healthy lifestyle.' (DENI Misuse of Drugs - 1996)

The programme of education is integrated within the Personal Development Strand of the Curriculum. A life skills approach to drug prevention is essential and within the programme pupils are taught about raising self-esteem, self confidence and assertiveness to prepare them for making informed decisions about drug use, the main focus being on knowledge, social skills, attitudes and values.

In the Northern Ireland Curriculum, Personal Development forms parts of the Statutory Core Curriculum. Drugs Education is specifically included within Health Growth and Change in the curriculum.

In addition to the drugs education provided within the curriculum, the school and nursery offers counselling and support for pupils to explore their own attitudes and values as well as an opportunity to discuss any drug related problems they may have. This is generally done through the pastoral system within the school and the pupils are informed that confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed.

The policy aims to protect young people from the harm associated with the use and misuse of substances though

  • developing       a consistent approach to drug-related issues in line with the      school and nursery’s pastoral care provision that all      members of the school community can adopt;
  • developing, implementing and reviewing a drugs education programme as part of the provision of PDMU and PD within the curriculum;
  • develop procedures and protocols that address drug-related issues across all areas of

school and nursery life;

  • establish procedures for managing specific incidents of suspected drug misuse; and
  • monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the policy in line with whole-school self-evaluation procedures.


The school and nursery 's drugs education programme is grounded in the Personal Development and the enhancement of protective factors.


  • To promote      positive attitudes towards personal health.
  • To develop      self-discipline and self-respect.
  • To build pupils' self esteem.
  • To develop decision-making skills which may delay      or prevent the onset of experimentation.
  • To inform pupils      of the effects of drug abuse, and the risks involved.
  • To help pupils      to understand how they can influence their peers.
  • To develop      knowledge and understanding of themselves and others as individuals


Drugs Education should enable pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding about drugs and drug issues, as well as the skills needed to cope with challenges they will encounter.

Pupils should be able to:

  • understand their own personality, needs, abilities and interests.
  • understand the process of reasoning required to make informed      choices.
  • Explore their own attitudes towards drugs and drug issues.
  • Develop coping strategies to deal with peer pressure.
  • Develop a competence in challenging attitudes and patterns of      behaviour associated with drug misuse.
  • Develop self-discipline.
  • Understand what is meant by `a drug' and the definition of      `addiction'.
  • Understand how some drugs affect the body.
  • Be aware of the benefits of healthy lifestyles.
  • Recognise potential drug exploitation and how to take avoiding      action.
  • Be aware of the current drug culture and the effect of advertising      campaigns.

These objectives are closely linked with our policy on pastoral care and they should not be seen in isolation.


Drugs Education is a whole staff issue. St. Patrick`s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit ensures that staff are regularly updated with changes in the curriculum and changes to the policy, which have an effect on their delivery of the curriculum. Where possible staff receive in-service training on drug issues.

The Designated Teacher for Drugs will work in conjunction with the PDMU Co-ordinator to ensure that the appropriate themes are covered under Personal Development for each year group. It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to include drugs education in other subject areas if it forms part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum, and to spend an adequate amount of time delivering drugs education.

Drug education is not taught in isolation. It is a continuous process which involves the development of skills and attitudes enabling pupils to make informed choices. Effective drug education should take account of not only the individual, but also the family, their peer groups, and the wider community. Where possible, the school promotes the partnership between the parent and child, when addressing drug issues.

There will be opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the use misuse, risks and effects of drugs and other potentially harmful substances, their effects of health and lifestyle.

External agencies may be used to assist teachers to deliver drugs education. Teachers should, however, only use outside agencies as part of a planned programme with adequate preparation and follow up.  It is vital that any agency or individual entering a school or nursery to support any aspect of the PDMU or PD curriculum, including drugs education, is given a copy of this policy. They must agree to respect the ethos of the setting and be aware of confidentiality issues. The school and nurserywill ensure that they adhere to the guidance on vetting requirements. Teachers must ensure the activities the agency or individual undertakes complement and support the school and nursery’s ongoing drugs education programme as part of the overall provision for PDMU or PD.

Supporting parents or carers

It is important that schools inform parents or carers before an agency or individual comes

into the school or nursery to support its drugs education programme. Contacting parents or carers and explaining the type of activities that are taking place will ensure that they have the opportunity to raise any concerns they might have before the visit. This consultation has

the added benefit of letting parents or carers know what is going on and strengthening ties

between home and school.

An outline of the areas of study involving drug education is included at the back of this policy.


St. Patrick`s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit may use outside agencies to help delivery the drug education programme providing the following criteria are met:

  • The content and delivery of the programme has      been jointly agreed.
  • The programme and methods of delivery are      consistent with the aims and objectives outlined in this policy.
  • The principal has given her approval for the use      of the outside agency.
  • The staff from the agency have been vetted in      relation to Child Protection.
  • The agency is familiar with the school’s drug      policy and is prepared to adhere to it.
  • The resources used are appropriate to the age      range and maturity of the pupils.
  • The visitor(s) to the school are clear that      confidentiality cannot be maintained and any disclose which might suggest      that a pupil is at risk must be passed to the designated teacher for      drugs.
  • The teacher will always be present when a visitor      to the school is taking a class.
  • Outside agencies will be asked to complete the External      Agencies Form (Appendix 7)



Mr Coulter is the designated teacher responsible for the co-ordination of the arrangements with individual cases of suspected or actual drug misuse. His role includes:

  • Oversight of co-ordination of planning of curricular provision.
  • Ensuring that the programme of study is being taught effectively
  • Implementing procedures as      outlined in this policy for dealing with an incident
  • Receiving any substance      found in school
  • liaising      with other staff responsible for pastoral care;
  • liaising      with any staff involved in an incident
  • responding to advice from first aiders, in the event of an incident, and informing

the pupil’s parents or carers immediately;

  • being the contact point for outside agencies that may have to work with the school or with a pupil or pupils concerned;
  • organising training for staff as appropriate
  • co-ordinating      the school’s procedures for handling suspected drug-related incidents and training      and inducting new and existing staff in these procedures;
  • Reviewing      and updating the school drug policy after an incident and when required.
  • completing      a factual report using the schools Drug-Related Incident Form.


All staff should be familiar with the content of this policy and their responsibilities, should a suspected drug-related incident occur.

It is not the staff’s responsibility to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident, but they should:

  • assess the situation and decide on the      appropriate actions to take;
  • notify the Designated Teacher (Mr Caughey) for      drugs at the earliest opportunity;
  • deal with any emergency procedures to ensure      the safety of pupils and staff, if necessary.
  • forward any information, substance or      paraphernalia received to the designated teacher for drugs, who will      respond accordingly (see Appendix 4.1)
  • use the school’s Drugs Incident Report Form to      complete a brief factual report on the suspected incident and forward this      to the designated teacher for drugs (see Appendix 5);
  • consider the needs and safety of a pupil when      discharging him or her into the care of a parent or carer who appears to      be under the influence of alcohol or another substance (staff, who are in      loco parentis, should maintain a calm atmosphere when dealing with the      parent and, if concerned, should discuss with the parent alternative      arrangements for caring for the pupil); and invoke safeguarding procedures,      if a parent or carer’s behaviour may place a pupil at risk (see Appendix      4.5).




It is the principal’s responsibility to determine the circumstances of all incidents, but it is

the responsibility of the PSNI to investigate any criminal or suspected criminal offence. In

any suspected drug-related incident, the principal should contact the parents or carers of

those pupils involved. The principal must ensure that in any incident involving a controlled

substance there is close liaison with the PSNI. Failure to inform the PSNI of a suspected

incident involving controlled drugs is a criminal offence.


After contacting the PSNI, the principal should confine her responsibilities to:

  • the welfare of the      pupil(s) involved in the incident and the other pupils in the school;
  • health and safety      during the handling, storage and safe disposal of any drug or drug related
  • paraphernalia,      using protective gloves at all times;
  • informing the      Board of Governors;
  • agreeing any      appropriate pastoral or disciplinary response;
  • reporting the      incident to the Education Authority or CCMS if appropriate, for example if      an incident:

        is serious enough to require PSNI involvement;

        requires that a child protection procedure is invoked; or

        leads to the suspension or exclusion of a pupil; and

  • completing a      written report and forwarding a copy to the Board of Governors and the designated      officer in the Education Authority or CCMS.


School Governors have the responsibility for their individual school and foster and support the development and ongoing review of the policy and education programme. Their role includes:

  • Facilitation of the consultative process      whereby the school community can respond and contribute to the      effectiveness and quality of the policy and programme which they examine      and approve prior to implementation in the school.
  • Ensuring parents have access to this policy.
  • Ensuring that it is reviewed at regular      intervals.
  • Appointing a Governor who is fully aware of      and adequately trained to deal with suspected drug-related incidents      including alcohol and tobacco and their appropriate disciplinary response.

The designated Governor responsible for ‘Drug related incidents’ is Mrs Ann McGurnaghan.


Parents play a vital role in the prevention of drug misuse. They are involved in the planning of the school drug policy and they should be involved fully in the education of their child. This is especially so with the drugs education programme.

Parents will be informed when external agencies are being used to address drugs related issues and are encouraged to play an active role in homework tasks and discuss drug issues with their child whenever possible. Parents are also aware of the school’s procedure for dealing with drug related incidents.

The school must ensure that they keep parents or carers fully informed of school procedures in the event of suspected drug-related incidents. The designated teacher for drugs should carefully consider their approach when contacting parents or carers. They should do this as a matter of course for all incidents involving possession or misuse of drugs. They should make every effort to contact the parents or carers before involving the police. They should also consider parents or carers who may be emotionally distressed in response to a suspected drug-related incident.

The school endeavours to work closely with the local community to help reduce the number of drug related incidents.



St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit has developed good working relationships with the local police. This helps to ensure that if a drug related incident is reported, it will be dealt with in a professional and discrete manner, and in keeping the best interests of the child concerned in mind.   Community and Schools Involvement Officers offer advice and support when it is needed.


The Principal must notify the PSNI in all instances where there is an allegation or suspicion that a crime has been committed. Failure to notify the PSNI is a criminal offence.

Staff must be aware of the legal implications of:

  • receiving information about a controlled drug;
  • discovering a young person in possession of a      controlled drug; or
  • discovering a young person is involved in      supplying a controlled drug.


A suspected drug related incident is described as,

  • Finding a      suspected substance or drug-related paraphernalia on or close to the      school premises (Appendix 4.1)
  • Pupil      suspected of having taken drugs/alcohol on school premises (Appendix 4.2)
  • Pupil      suspected of possessing/distributing an illegal substance (Appendix 4.3)
  • Pupil in      possession of alcohol or unauthorised prescribed medication on the school      premises (Appendix 4.4)
  • A parent or      carer arrives at school to collect a child and appears to be

under the influence of alcohol or another substance (Appendix 4.5)

See Appendices 4 for guidelines and Flowcharts detailing how to detail with incidents

When an incident occurs the member of staff involved should:

  • Make the situation safe
  • Send for support Administer first aid if necessary
  • If an illegal drug is found it should be secured in a safe place until dealt with by the police
  • Report the incident (See appendix 3)

The incident will be in the first incidence reported to the Designated Teacher and then to the Principal, who will contact the Community and Schools Involvement Officer (CSIO) from the police in this area. The parents will also be contacted and made aware of the situation. The parent incident will be recorded by the teacher involved and by the designated teacher. A ‘record of action form’ will be filled out. One copy will be sent to the EA/CCMS designated officer for Drug Education -and a copy will be retained for the school's confidential file. The Board of Governors will also be informed.

All staff are made aware of the procedure, which follow the guidelines issued by The CCEA document `Drugs Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland’ (2015). This is outlined in Appendix 4 of this policy.

School staff are not permitted to search pupils' clothing or possessions. Staff may search school property such as desks. However, personal belongings within a desk or a locker cannot be searched without consent. A search of pupil’s personal belongings, including school bag, coat or other items should only be made with the pupils’ consent. Such a search should be made in the presence of the pupil and another adult witness. It is acceptable to ask the pupil to empty pockets and school bags.


During and after any incident, the school must consider the individual needs of any pupil or

pupils involved. This should involve the pupil or pupils, the principal, parents or carers, the

designated teacher for drugs and appropriate pastoral care staff. It could also involve the

PSNI officer and an education welfare officer, where appropriate. Communication between

staff and early involvement of parents or carers may set the scene for early, supportive,

pastoral intervention.

Procedures should be carried out in line with the Discipline Policy. The Principal will be responsible for deciding how to respond to particular incidents as they occur. The Principal will take into account all the factors associated with each separate incident, such as the age of the pupil concerned, whether the incident involved one pupil or a group of pupils, whether there has been evidence of particular peer group pressure and whether it is a first offence.

St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit is committed to tackling drug misuse and any instance of possession, use or supply of illegal drugs on school premises will be regarded with the utmost seriousness. Whilst it is not appropriate to prescribe specific sanctions, the decision rests with the Principal, who will respond appropriately incorporating sanctions which may include suspension or in extreme cases expulsion.

In some instances, either before or following a drugs incident, schools should identify

counselling or other appropriate support as potentially valuable to a pupil.

Schools should be aware of the range of specialised agencies, support and counselling

services available that may support a pupil at risk. External Counselling will be offered if appropriate. Counselling is only appropriate when a pupil wishes to take advantage of what it offers.


For the purposes of this policy, an emergency is considered to be either:

  • A situation in which a pupil or staff is in danger, or
  • A sequence of events which require urgent attention.

A flow chart for dealing with emergencies is contained in Appendix 3 of this policy


The spirit of confidentiality is of primary importance to those who work professionally with young people in a trusting and secure environment. However the legal requirements of drug legislation will mean that in certain circumstances there will be a change in the convention of confidentiality. The Children (Northern Ireland Order (1995) makes it clear that the welfare of the young person is -paramount and therefore confidentiality must be included.

Where a pupil discloses to a teacher that he or she is taking drugs, the teacher should make it clear that he or she can offer no guarantee of confidentiality. However the teacher can advise the pupil of other sources of confidential information or advice. Pupils should also be encouraged to talk to their parents.

Where there is suspected criminal activity relating to drugs, information should be passed to the Designated Teacher/Principal/ PSNI and CCMS/EA.


If the school receives an enquiry from the media, the caller should be referred only to the principal. When responding to the media, the privacy of the pupil should be respected, they are only to give short, factual statements, and the concluding statement should be positive and reassuring. No further comments should be given.


The school drug education policy is periodically reviewed to reflect changing circumstances and trends in drugs use. The programmes of study for drug education are continually reviewed and any changes deemed necessary are implemented.

This policy is available to parents on request.



All staff are aware of their responsibilities under the law. The law in Northern Ireland differs in certain aspects from elsewhere in the UK. The relevant pieces of legislation are `The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967, and the Powers of Arrest - Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

If the principal has reasonable grounds to suspect that drugs are being used or supplied on the school premises, he will inform the police immediately in order to avoid any liability as a `manager or occupier' of premises.

If staff have taken possession of a substance for the purposes of protecting a pupil from harm and from committing an offence; they should under no circumstance, try to analyse or identify it. If they suspect it to be LSD, they should wear gloves when handling it, to avoid ingestion through the skin. The drug should be immediately stored in a safe place, and the police contacted.



It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971:

  1. to supply or offer to supply a controlled drug to another in contravention of the Act;
  2. 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 purpose of preventing another from committing or continuing to commit an offence and that as soon as possible after taking possession of 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 person lawfully entitled to take custody of it;
  3. 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

The offences listed above are arrestable offences

Section 8. A person commits an offence if, being the occupier or concerned in the management of any premises, he knowingly permits or suffers any of the following activities to take place on those premises, that is to say

(a) producing or attempting to produce a controlled drug in contravention of section 4(1) of this Act.

(b) supplying or attempting to supply a controlled drug to another in contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act or offering to supply a controlled drug to another in contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act;

(c)preparing opium for smoking;

(d)smoking cannabis resin or prepared opium.


Section 5. Failing to give Information. Where a person has committed an arrestable offence, it shall be the duty of every other person who knows or believes:

  1. that the offence or some other arrestable offence has been committed; and
  2. that he has information which is likely to secure, or to be of material assistance in securing, the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for that offence;
  3. to give that information, within a reasonable time, to a constable and if, without reasonable excuse, he fails to do so then that person is committing an offence.

This places an onus on individuals to inform a constable.


Art. 26(4) - Any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he with reasonable grounds suspects to be, guilty of the offence.

Art 26(5) - Where an arrestable offence has been committed, any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he with reasonable grounds suspects to be, guilty of the offence.

These powers of arrest are available to non-police and, as the following drug

fall within the definition of Arrestable Offence, are available for use in such circumstances.

  1. Possession of Controlled Drugs
  2. Possession of Controlled Drugs with Intent to Supply
  3. Supply of Controlled Drugs

NB: The above information is advisory only and does not represent legal opinion.







Recognising Signs of Substance Use: What to look out for

If someone is having a bad time on drugs, they may be:

• anxious;

• tense;

• panicky;

• overheated and dehydrated;

• drowsy; or

• having difficulty with breathing.

What to do

The first things you should do are:

• stay calm;

• calm them and be reassuring, don’t scare them or chase after them;

• try to find out what they’ve taken; and

• stay with them.

If they are anxious, tense or panicky, you should:

• sit them in a quiet and calm room;

• keep them away from crowds, bright lights and loud noises;

• tell them to take slow deep breaths; and

• stay with them.

If they are really drowsy, you should:

• sit them in a quiet place and keep them awake;

• if they become unconscious or don’t respond, call an ambulance immediately and placethem in the recovery position;

• don’t scare them, shout at them or shock them;

• don’t give them coffee to wake them up; and

• don’t put them in a cold shower to ‘wake them up’.

If they are unconscious or having difficulty breathing, you should:

• immediately phone for an ambulance;

• place them into the recovery position;

• stay with them until the ambulance arrives; and

• if you know what drug they’ve taken, tell the ambulance crew; this can help make surethat they get the right treatment straight away.




At the start of the school year, parents must complete a medical form indicating any medical illness their child has. The parent is also advised that the school will not, as a matter of course administer medicine to a pupil. If an emergency arises, the parent will be contacted and permission sought if necessary.

If a pupil needs to bring medicine into school, the following guidelines must be adhered to:

  • A permission form for administering medicine,      detailing the nature of the illness and the dosage required.
  • The pupil/parent must give the medicine to the      class teacher.
  • The class teacher must store the medicine in a      secure pace and ensure that only the pupil for whom the medicine is      prescribed, takes the medicine.


Pupils are not permitted to bring solvents or aerosols into school.  This includes tippex fluid, tippex thinners, glue, marker pens and spray deodorants.  Pupils are permitted to bring felt pens to school. All members of staff are responsible for the safe storage and usage of solvents in their class.  Where possible they should be stored in a cupboard when not in use.  The caretaker and cleaners should also ensure that solvents they use are kept in a secure place




Checklist of Roles and Responsibilities WhenManaging an Incident


Individual staff members should:

• assess the situation and decide the action;

• make the situation safe for all pupils and other members of staff, secure first aid and send

for additional staff support, if necessary;

• carefully gather up any drugs and/or associated paraphernalia or evidence and pass all

information or evidence to the designated teacher for drugs; and

• write a brief factual report of the incident and forward it to the designated teacher for


The designated teacher for drugs should:

• respond to first aider's advice or recommendations;

• inform parents or carers immediately, in the case of an emergency;

• take possession of any substance(s) and associated paraphernalia found;

• inform the principal;

• take initial responsibility for pupil(s) involved in the suspected incident; and

• complete a Drugs Incident Report Form (see Appendix 5) and forward it to the principal.

The principal should:

• determine the circumstances surrounding the incident;

• ensure that the following people are informed:

– parents or carers;

– designated officer in the local PSNI area;

– Board of Governors; and

– designated officer in Education Authority or CCMS.

• consult and agree pastoral and disciplinary responses, including counselling services or


• forward a copy of the Incident Report Form to the chairperson of the Board of Governors

and the designated officer in the Education Authority/CCMS.

Agree pastoral and disciplinary responses including counselling services/support.
Appendix 4



The school premises are an alcohol/smokefree zone. The school does not allow any alcohol to be brought onto or consumed in school premises and no one being permitted to smoke on the school premises.   This applies to visitors, staff and pupils.

Adults breaking this rule will be referred to the Principal directly.

Pupils will be dealt with under the school’s discipline policy.


The following guidelines are from CCEA (2015) Drugs Guidance for Schools in Northern Ireland.




Illness, unusual or uncharacteristic behaviour

Young people’s behaviour may be unpredictable and bizarre for many reasons during their

time at school. Changes in behaviour may indicate a range of difficulties and problems

and may be related to a medical condition, rather than substance misuse. It is, however,

important to note that intoxication, physical collapse or unconsciousness can also result

from an initial experiment with drugs.

Staff should bring any indications of illness, unusual or uncharacteristic behaviour because

of suspected substance misuse to the attention of the designated teacher for drugs. They

should not make any judgement until they have determined the circumstances surrounding

the incident. Where staff believe a pupil may have taken a substance they suspect is a

drug, they should seek medical assistance immediately after following the recommended

emergency procedures. The school must inform parents and the PSNI.

Taking possession of a suspected controlled substance and/or associated


The law permits school staff to take temporary possession of a substance suspected of being

a controlled drug to protect a pupil from harm and prevent the pupil committing the offence of possession. The teacher should, using appropriate safety precautions, take the suspected substance and any associated equipment and/or paraphernalia to the designated teacher for drugs as soon as possible. They should arrange for its safe storage until the school can hand it over to the local PSNI officer to identify whether it is a controlled substance. School staff should not attempt to analyse or taste an unidentified substance. An adult witness should be present when staff confiscate the substance and the school should keep a record of the details, using the school’s Drug Incident Report Form.

An allegation of a suspected controlled drug-related incident

Carrying out a search

If the designated teacher for drugs receives an allegation of possession, he or she may

need to search a pupil’s desk or locker, if he or she has cause to believe it contains unlawful

items, including controlled drugs. However, teachers cannot search personal belongings in

the desk or locker without consent. Staff should only search the pupil’s personal belongings,

including schoolbag, coat or other items with the pupil’s consent. Staff should carry out this search in the presence of the pupil and another adult witness.


If the school suspects pupils of concealing controlled drugs on their person or in their

personal belongings, staff should make every effort to encourage them to produce these

substances voluntarily. Staff should ask pupils to turn out their pockets or schoolbags.

If the pupils refuse, staff should contact their parents or carers and the PSNI to deal with the

situation. A member of staff should never carry out a physical search of a pupil, unless

there is compelling evidence that the pupil has committed an offence. If staff recover

a substance or an object that they suspect has a connection with drugs, they should take

possession of it and make a full record using the school’s Drug Incident Report Form.

If a pupil refuses to be searched the school must establish whether the probability that the

pupil has committed an offence outweighs their right to privacy, before deciding whether

to carry out a search without consent. The school drugs policy should clearly explain the

procedures and circumstances for searches where there is reason for suspicion.

Possession, Possession with Intent to Supply and Supply of Controlled Drugs

Schools must be aware that pupil involvement in suspected controlled drug-related incidents may take several forms. These could include:

• possession;

• possession with intent to supply; and/or

• the supply of controlled drugs.

It is illegal for pupils to be in possession of a controlled drug. If a member of staff comes

across a pupil in possession of what they believe or suspect to be a controlled drug, they

should immediately attempt to take possession of the substance and detain the pupil.

They should then send for assistance from the designated teacher for drugs, who will deal

with the incident as outlined in the school policy.

It is not illegal for a pupil to possess or use other substances that are not controlled, for

example alcohol, solvents, tobacco, tobacco-related products, electronic cigarettes, overthe- counter medication or prescribed medication. Prescribed medication, however, may be considered a controlled substance if it has been prescribed for someone else. The teacher should make a preliminary enquiry to clarify who the medication is for. This will establish whether the school should contact the PSNI about the incident. Although some unknown substances may be new psychoactive substances, schools should treat all unknown substances as suspected controlled drugs and respond accordingly.

The school should deal with a pupil in possession of substances that are not controlled,

using the school’s disciplinary or pastoral care procedures in line with the school’s child

protection and safeguarding policy. It should also notify the pupil’s parents or carers. In

these circumstances, the school has no legal obligation to notify the PSNI. Where a principal

feels that there are issues about the origin of these substances, the school may notify the

designated officer in the local PSNI area for advice and guidance.

Detaining a pupil

When managing a suspected drug-related incident the school should invite the pupils

concerned to remain in school under the supervision of appropriate members of staff until

their parents or carers and the PSNI arrive.

If the pupil refuses to remain, the school cannot detain a pupil against their will. However, if

a member of staff has reasonable grounds to suspect that the pupil has in their possession

or has taken a controlled substance, they can make a citizen’s arrest under Article 26A of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order (PACE) 1989.

• A person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant:

– anyone who is in the act of committing an indictable offence; or

– anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an indictable


• Where an indictable offence has been committed, a person other than a constable may

arrest without a warrant:

– anyone who is guilty of the offence; or

– anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of it.

• But the power of summary arrest conferred by paragraph (1) or (2) is exercisable only if:

– the person making the arrest has reasonable grounds for believing that for any of the

reasons mentioned in paragraph (4) it is necessary to arrest the person in question; and

– it appears to the person making the arrest that it is not reasonably practicable for a

constable to make it instead.

• The reasons are to prevent the person in question:

– causing physical injury to himself or any other person;

– suffering physical injury;

– causing loss of or damage to property; or

– making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

A summary of relevant legislation is available at

The member of staff should make the pupil fully aware of the implications before making

the arrest, confirming:

• that the pupil is not free to leave once they have been informed by the arresting person

why they are being arrested, and

• that they will be detained until they are handed over to a PSNI officer who will then deal

with the investigation.

Staff must be able to recognise the point where a young person becomes a danger to either

themselves or others. They should also be aware of their duty of protection because they are in loco parentis.

Appendix 4






Name of Pupil________________________   DOB____________





Date of Incident _______________   Reported by ____________

Time of   Incident________________________________________

Location of   Incident____________________________________



First Aid given YES/NO   Administered by __________________    

Ambulance/Doctor Called YES/NO Time of Call _____________




Parent or carer informed YES/NO

Date:__________________   Time _________________________



Where substance is retained_____________________________  

Date   substance is destroyed/passed to PSNI___________ Time______



PSNI infomed   YES/NO

Date:__________________   Time _________________________



EA/Designated Officier informed as appropriate YES/NO

Date:__________________   Time _________________________



Form Completed by _______________________________

Date:__________________   Position ______________________

Description of the Incident




Actions taken





Incident form completed by _________________________________