Substance Use Policy

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 The North Monastery Secondary School is committed to addressing the needs of the whole school in relation to drugs and/or abuses of other substances. This policy has been drawn up in consultation with and accepted by the Principal, Teachers, Parents/Guardians, Board of Management, and Students. It is necessary that all involved work together to implement this policy. It is vital that parents/guardians actively work with the school to implement this policy to ensure their children’s health and safety. In this policy, “Drug” means any substance which changes the way the body functions, mentally, physically, or emotionally. The school recognises that drugs, both legal and illegal are available in the local community and that the school, as part of said community, has an important role in terms of education, prevention, support, and the handling of drug-related incidents. This Policy has been updated with reference to the North Monastery’s previous substance Use Policy.


 In the North Monastery, we aim to develop all aspects of the student – their physical, intellectual, moral and emotional wellbeing. This is the ethos that guides this substance use policy. It also is committed to fostering the development of personal responsibility.

  • The school does not accept the possession, use or supply of alcohol or tobacco in the school or during school activities by any student or any member of the school
  • The school does not accept the misuse of solvent-based substances. Students may have prescribed or “over the counter” medicines for legitimate personal use
  • Students who have in their possession and take medical drugs in school long term, must complete and submit the drug medical form to the school
  • The school must be informed if a student has a medical condition and relevant teachers, e.g. PE teacher must be informed
  • A student or teacher may not give another student any prescribed or “over the counter “medicine.
  • Chemicals in school laboratories will be held as per the required guidelines. Students will handle and use such substances only under their teacher’s supervision.


  • The Education Act (1998) provides that schools should promote the social and personal development of students and provide health education for
  • The Social Personal and Health Education curriculum, of which substance misuse prevention education is an integral part, is a mandatory subject on the primary curriculum and must be taught toall primary pupils from junior infants to sixth class (DES Circular 022/2010).
  • The National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016 requires every school to have a substance use policy in place
  • Action 21 of the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016 mandates the Department of Education and Skills to monitor the implementation of substance use policies in schools through the whole school evaluation process as operated by the Inspectorate. It is also mandated to ensure that best practice is disseminated to all schools
  • The 2003 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (E.S.P.A.D.) report highlighted the seriousness of the problem among 16-year-olds in Ireland, as compared to the other 34 E.S.P.A.D. countries surveyed. Alcohol was identified as being the dominant drug of misuse in Ireland, with girls ranking higher than boys in terms of regular alcohol use. In terms of drug use in Ireland, there was a notable increase in lifetime use of any illicit drug between 1999 (32%) and 2003 (40%), up to eight per.

 The policy is focused on four key areas:

  1. Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education
  2. Managing Drug Related Incidents.
  3. Training and Staff
  4. Monitoring, Review and

1. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Education Programmes

The School is committed to providing an Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programme for all students.

Our educational aims are:

  • To increase the self-esteem and confidence of our
  • To equip our students with personal and social
  • To enable our students to make informed, healthy and responsible
  • To provide clear and age appropriate information on
  • To minimise the harm caused by drug abuse by offering supportive interventions.

These aims will be achieved by the following strategies:

  1. Teachers are offered Drug Awareness training, wellbeing training or any relevant training through regular in-service
  2. Outside speakers are used where appropriate to reinforce the work done in class.
  3. Parents/Guardians will be consulted on the need for drug education and will be informed of what is happening in the school. Drug information and drug awareness sessions are organised for parents as
  4. Student Drug Education will be achieved through, o Wellbeing modules o First Aid Course in Transition Year o Outside speakers where appropriate. o LCA Social Education Module

2. Managing Alcohol, Tobacco, Drug Related Incidents

 We acknowledge that in all situations involving drugs, there needs to be a balance between the needs of thestudent, the needs of the school community, the reputation of the school and legal considerations.

Assessing a drug incident: If there is no damage to the student/s, it is important to:

  • Take time to listen and assess before
  • Separate fact from
  • In situations of confirmed use or possession or supply all details must be recorded and acted
  • Complete the incident
  • Any concerns teachers have about a student is to be reported to the Principal/ Deputy

Managing a Drug incident

 A limited number of people are involved in all suspected or confirmed drug incidents. People will be informed on a “need to know” basis. All written records will be held confidentially by the Principal or Deputy Principal.Parents/Guardians will be involved. They will be informed sensitively and support offered to them. In the case of illegal drugs the Principal or Deputy Principal will contact Gardaí – Juvenile Liaison Officer, and any drugs will be dealt with by Gardaí. In response to all incidents, our Student Support Team will be used to offer support.

If a student has a “problem” then further referral will be recommended. Parents/Guardians, staff and other students involved in the incident will be offered support.

Confidentiality is a complex issue. It is important that the limits of confidentiality are discussed with studentsbefore any disclosure is made. The well-being and welfare of the student and teacher must be a primaryfocus.

The Principal or Deputy Principal will handle all media enquiries. They will not comment on individual cases but will refer to the school policy and procedures in place to manage any drug related incident.

Disciplinary Procedures

 Drug incidents are complex and in situations where the school rules regarding drugs are broken, sanctions will be implemented depending on the nature of the offence. These will be consistent with the Code of Behaviour, which deals with drug under the “Contract of Core Expectations of the North Monastery SecondarySchool” (Section 9) which is signed and dated by Parent/Guardian and the pupil. The issue is also dealt within Section 9.2 entitled, “Expulsion for a First Offence”.

3. Training & Development Staff:

Staff members are aware of the contribution they can make to the prevention of

substance misuse within their own class by developing a supportive class environment and implementation of active learning methodologies as recommended in the SPHE curriculum. The School will facilitate training for staff involved in the wellbeing programmes. All staff will be made aware of drug information, resources, websites and training programmes available as required.


 The School will provide opportunities to attend drug workshops, information evenings and sessions asrequired. As part of the induction for parents/guardians of new pupils to the North Monastery, parents/ guardians are to be made aware that all school policies will be online including the substance use policy.


 The School will offer all its students drug education programmes within the context of their wellbeingclasses. This will specifically include all Junior Cycle students in their SPHE class groups, all TY students who will study First Aid and will complete programmes in collaboration with the HSE and Youth Work Ireland.

4. Monitoring the Policy, Review and Evaluation

 The Substance Abuse policy will be monitored after 12 months or earlier if required to ensure that it is of practical benefit to the School. The result will be recorded and made available to the Principal.

Dissemination of Policy

 Copies of this policy will be distributed to all of the school community via the school website. Hard copies are available on request, from the office.


Updated and Ratified by the Board of Management in November 2020