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Binay bill to help students break drug, smoking, alcohol habit

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Senator Nancy Binay is pushing for the establishment of a comprehensive program for the prevention, intervention, evaluation, treatment and continuous care for tobacco, alcohol and other drug abuse in all high schools, colleges and universities.

In the explanatory note of her Senate Bill 2077 entitled “An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Substance Abuse Educational Program in Every School,” Binay called on concerned government agencies to formulate a program that would address drug problem in all schools nationwide.

“There is a need to establish a comprehensive program for the prevention, intervention, evaluation and treatment for student alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse… (to ensure) the future of our youth’s intellectual, physical and social well-being,” Binay said.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has said the proposed mandatory drug testing would also entail additional expenses for parents, who are already complaining of costly school fees.

Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 only mandates random drug testing for secondary and tertiary levels.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) earlier recommended mandatory drug testing for all students and teachers, including those from Grade 4 and above as part of the government’s drive against illegal drugs.

However, the DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education, and other agencies rejected PDEA’s proposal requiring surprise drug testing to grade school students.

Binay’s measure mandates CHED, DepEd, the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drugs Board to establish a program of prevention and intervention for student alcohol and substance abuse in all secondary and tertiary schools.

The prevention component of the program is aimed at keeping students from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; reduce or eliminate the incidence and prevalence of abuse; and, actively involve staff, parents and other community members in the development and implementation of prevention program plans, among others.

The purpose of the intervention, referral for evaluation and referral for treatment component of the program is to identify students who are at risk for, or who have exhibited, alcohol, tobacco or other drug abuse problems.

This component is also aimed at helping students or their parents who have requested assistance for alcohol, tobacco or drug abuse problems.

The measure also requires that each school should assure confidentiality of records of students found positive of alcohol and drug abuse.

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