Substance Use Policy

Representatives of staff of the school, Tony Rogerson and Carmel Rourke, the Board of Management, Julie and the Parents, Fiona Buckley and Tim Burke, devised the following policy statement on 13th February, 2007.

A drug can be defined as a chemical, which causes changes in the way the human body functions mentally, physically or emotionally.

For the purpose of this policy we are concerned with drugs which have the power to change a previous mood and the way a person thinks about things and drugs or which the taker may become physically or more often psychologically dependent.

This policy will have to be read in conjunction with the Code of Discipline Policy, the Health and Safety Policy and the Child Protection Policy of Killashee Multi-Denominational School.



  • Responding to the challenges modern society presents to young people in the form of easy availability of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and as educators, we have a duty to respond to this challenge.
  • The Education Act 1998 obliges a school to promote Health Education and the Social and personal development of students.
  • Ireland has the second highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the EU, being the dominant drug of misuse.
  • Schools are required to have a policy on Substance use in place under the National Drugs Strategy.


Aims & Objectives

  • To reflect the unique ethos of the school which encourages self-actualisation and the development of a positive self-image in all.  It fosters a spirit of co-operation and promotes self-respect and respect for all.
  • To develop a shared understanding of the term ‘drugs’.
  • To gain an understanding of why children and young people use drugs.
  • To influence people towards healthier activities and away from the need to use drugs.
  • To help prevent the child from becoming a drug misuser.
  • To help develop sensible attitudes to drugs.

The above points are addressed through our SPHE (Social, Personal & Health Education) Programme.  We seek to develop a framework for education concerning substance use in terms of providing information helping the child develop a common sense approach to alcohol, drugs and everyday substances that can be abused.



Roles & Responsibilities

  • The Principal in conjunction with the Board of Management has overall responsibility for the implementation of policy.
  • The class teachers have responsibility for the delivery of the SPHE and Walk Tall Programme.
  • The teacher is a leader and the entire process is one of leading children to valuing what is good
  • SET Teachers will support the delivery of the programme for special needs pupils.
  • Parents engage in the formulation and support of the school policy.  The primary role of substance misuse prevention rests with parents
  • The Board is responsible for all issues relating to Health and Safety in the school.
  • The Board is responsible for all issues relating to the Code of Discipline in the school.



Policy Content

The policy content is divided into 3 sections.

(i)         Education concerning Substance use

(ii)         Management of alcohol, tobacco and drug-related incidents

(iii)        Provision for training and staff development



(i)  Internal School Provision – Education Concerning Substance Use

The school will endeavour to strike a balance between a pastoral and a disciplinary response should an incident occur and support agencies are available to the school should the need arise.  In some cases it may be deemed necessary to seek legal advice.  The support agencies mentioned above include:

  • Health Service Executive
  • Family Doctor
  • Social Worker
  • Gardaí including Juvenile Liaison Officer
  • Clergy
  • Education Welfare Office
  • Teachers
  • Pharmacist

The SPHE curricular programme provides the cornerstone of the schools internal provision.  Within the board context of SPHE, specific programmes such as Walk Tall, Alive O are used.  We aspire to form links with the HSE and the Garda Representative from Naas and other support and statutory agencies to enhance the educational support mechanisms used within the school.



(ii)  Management of alcohol, tobacco and drug-related incidents



  • Killashee Multi-Denominational School and environs is a non-smoking area.
  • Visitors and all staff must comply with the no smoking policy.
  • Students are not permitted to smoke or be in possession of cigarettes on the school premises or on any school outings or school related activities.  Students found in breach will be reported to the Principal by the teacher and parents will be informed
  • Where pupils have purchased or been supplied with cigarettes the Gardaí will be informed.
  • The child will be dealt with according to the schools disciplinary procedures.



  • The school is an alcohol free area and students, staff and all visitors to the school are forbidden to bring alcohol into the school premises or consume alcohol on the school premises or during out of school activities.
  • Permission must be sought from the Board of Management in advance for alcohol to be permitted for adult only functions within the school environs
  • If a teacher is of the opinion that a student us under the influence of alcohol he/she will inform the Principal.  The parents/guardians will usually then be contacted and requested to remove the child from the premises.
  • If a Parent/Guardian is unwilling to remove the child, statutory bodies will be contacted.
  • The Board of Management will reserve the right to decide on the appropriate action to be taken i.e. contacting statutory bodies.
  • Where pupils have purchased or been supplied with alcohol the Gardaí will be informed.
  • The child will be dealt with as per the school Code of Discipline.


Illicit Drugs, Paraphernalia and Solvents

  • Student, staff and all visitors to the school are forbidden from being in possession of using or supplying illicit drugs, paraphernalia and/or solvents on school premises or during school related activities.
  • In the case of suspected or actual possession or use of illegal drugs on the school premises or on a school related activity, every effort will be made to locate the offending substance and/or associated paraphernalia and remove same to locked secure location in the Principal’s office.
  • Teachers or any staff will not transport illicit substances at any time.
  • It is the policy of the school to contact the Gardaí when illicit drugs and associated paraphernalia are found in the possession of a pupil or on the school premises.




The following parties will be informed immediately

  • Parents/Guardians
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Management
  • Garda
  • If a Parent/Guardian is unwilling to remove the child, statutory bodies will be contacted.
  • Where there is no disclosure all parents will be informed by letter and an emergency meeting of parents may be convened if deemed appropriate.
  • The School Board of Management will expect parents/guardian to inform the Principal or teacher if they suspect their child of drug taking.
  • If medical intervention is required a designated teacher will monitor the student until a doctor/ambulance arrives.
  • The child will be dealt with as per the school Code of Discipline.





(iii) Training and Staff Development

The school is assisted in professional development by the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP), the School Development Planning Support (SDPS), the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Walk Tall Support Office, the local Gardaí and the SPHE Programme.  Teachers have undergone training on the Walk Tall and SPHE programmes.  The policy will need to be supported by on-going commitment from the Board of Management to training and staff development.

Note:  The Board of Management will not entertain any media enquiries in the event of an issue of national concern occurring on the school premises and there is absolutely no onus on the Principal to deliver a statement on behalf of the school unless the BIM, in consultation with Principal and staff consider it appropriate to do so.



Guest Speakers

The policy welcomes guest speakers on issues relating to illicit substances.  All guest speakers will work under the following parameters:

a)         The Teacher must be present during the talks.

b)         The speaker must come with a recommendation from a statutory body.

c)         The speaker must deliver the talk in accordance with the ethos of the school.

d)         The school will actively encourage the use of guest speakers to support this policy.



Staff Substance Use

Where a member of staff is suspected of being under the influence of/or using alcohol and/or illicit drugs on school premises or while acting in the role as a member of school staff, the Board of Management will be informed and a decision will be made as to the appropriate measures that will be taken.



Success Criteria

  1. Monitoring of related behaviours in classrooms, corridor, yard, and on out of school activities
  2. Appropriate intervention when an incident occurs
  3. Openness in discussing issues relating to substance use
  4. Positive feedback from all stakeholders
  5. The success of any programme will be influenced greatly by what is happening both inside and outside   School to support young people to make healthy lifestyle choices.  No one group holds the key to prevention.
  6. Use of Education Programmes within the school




The policy will be implemented from date of ratification of this policy by the Board of Management.



Ratification and Review

The Board of Management approved the Substance Use Policy in and will review should any incident make such a review necessary.  The policy will be reviewed in February 2009.



Walk Tall                                               Building on Experience (National Drugs Strategy)

Stay Safe                                             ESPAD(1999)

National Advisory Committee                 SPHE Curriculum Strands

On Drugs                                              Child Protection Guidelines for Primary School

We aspire to acquire                              (NCCA 1999)

“Drugs Use Prevention”