Random drug tests among San Juan youth proposed

Random drug tests among San Juan youth proposed

By Beverly T. Natividad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:17:00 07/06/2008

MANILA, Philippines–Local officials of San Juan want to do random drug testing of high school and college students in public and private schools in the city, in a bid to minimize drug abuse among the youth.

A draft ordinance has been filed in San Juan, which will require secondary and tertiary level students in all public and private educational institutions to submit themselves to drug use screening.

The draft law, which is filed by San Juan Councilor Dante Santiago, said that random drug tests would be “one scheme to minimize, if not totally eradicate drug abuse among its constituents, particularly the youth.”

If passed, random drug tests would be funded by the local government.

Santiago has proposed that barangay (village) units will appropriate some portion of their annual budgets to fund the enforcement of drug tests.

“Local government units shall appropriate a substantial portion of their respective annual budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of this Act,” it said.

The law proposes that the San Juan police, village council members and city health officers, be mandated to conduct the random drug screenings, in coordination with the Department of Education and school officials.

In terms of penalties, Santiago proposes that any student who refuses to undergo drug screening will be “temporarily barred from returning to the school” until he/she complies with the required test.

Those who will fail the drug tests will have to undertake drug counseling programs, according to the draft ordinance.

Persons who circumvent or undermine the drug tests would face penalties provided under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.