Making Schools Drug-Free
Drug-free Philippine schools
Today, I feel so down to think of a relative whose life was snuffed out by another person now at large bearing the guilt of murder. For whatever reasons he might have committed such crime, I still consider him a victim of another victim. I say, the victims who turn murderers and criminals are victims of victims, a chain which commands a great concern on our part as educators, even those who are not. Precisely because everybody is a potential victim.
While schools exist, the huge challenge of making the schools free of drugs, free of violence, free of criminal activities stands tall.
Spare the children
The immediate environs of the school children, particularly those in the urban areas, are not drug-free. Even in areas far from the urban centers, prohibited drugs proliferate and its abundance undoubtedly endangers the future of the young.
Their preparation for life crumbles before a temporal taste of 'heaven' by the time they try to puff a few and desire to experience more until it develops into a habit. Certainly, they fall prey to an enticing breadth of ecstacy, alongside other factors that drive them towards addiction.
From the nightmare
This is reality that causes juvenile delinquency to pile up in this society already impregnated with various forms of violence and moral degeneration. In fact, rehabilitation centers and prison cells manifest the abundance of criminals borne of drug addiction and related activities. Expectedly, this draws an unimaginative nightmare that concretizes the atrocities that prohibited drug users are capable of doing.
The society in which the school children are being prepared for integration is conclusively turning sick.
Before this blatancy, a series of drug awareness campaign is imperative to awaken the community of the serious consequences that drug addiction can do. Th school, the home and the community must unite to safeguard the country's future. These places must be turned into healthy cradles where affection is felt and responsibly shared before they become hotbeds of drug addiction and crime.
NDEP in the schools
The National Drug Education Program (NDEP) in the Philippine schools must go with action, not just an item on the bulletin board nor a big posting corner. Comprehensive plans and actions should be pushed through so that everybody feels the urgency of this glaring reality now attacking even the hinterlands which before have not even seen what these drugs look like.
As provided by Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the NDEP comes as complimentary program to the government's campaign involving all sectors of the society to take action and turn the country drug-free.
In the schools, the school heads are critical figures in the implementation of the NDEP which is a comprehensive educational program providing holistic approach to the drug abuse problem in the country. It is also designed for all sectors to work collaboratively with the schools.
Components identified to be pushed through are curriculum/instruction; co-curricular and ancillary services; staff development; parent education and community outreach; and research, monitoring and evaluation. These are needed to create awareness on the ill effects of drugs and drug abuse; develop positive behavior and lifeskills to resist drugs among students; strengthen NDEP implementation and intensify anti-drug abuse information cmapaigns; support activities designed in the schools, divisions, regions and nation; involve the parents and community associations, students' organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, in drug abuse prevention; and allocate funds for the teaching materials and other supplementary instructional materials.
Similarly, the local government units, the clergy and non-government sectors of society are urged to signify their support in the campaign to remarkably turn the seemingly drab state of drug dependence upside down.
Random drug test
As early as 2003, the Department of Education (DepEd) had ordered the administration of Random Drug Testing (RDT) in the schools with the help of the Department of Health (DoH) personnel who should actually do the RDT. Guidelines on its administration have been issued to include the treatment of the RDT results, enforcement and compliance on the training of the Guidance Counselors in handling drus abuse prevention programs and drug dependency cases. This was supported by the Dangerous Drugs Boards which ruled thru Board Regulation No. 3, s. 2009 to include secondary school students, tertiary and technical-vocational school students as subjects of the RDT. This must be costly but it is necessary.
Heed the call
Let us not wait for the time when our respective schools and communities are like common streets where drugs are sold like hot candies, and drug addicts are common signs of doom.
Today, as I know how precious life is, one life snuffed out is pain multiplied a thousandfold. I just hope that his parents still hold on to their sanity even in the midst of depression, grief and loss. This is life they have not dreamt of having and living.
Prayerfully, I wish a life free from the dangers of drugs, and the victims of drugs.