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PIA Press Release

Random drug tests in Bohol by March?

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (13 February) -- Bohol public and private secondary school officials are now in preparations for the Bohol segment of the random drug testing which is slated at the ending months this school-year.

This as Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said that 85,000 students undergo the test until November this year.

Reports have told that Department of Education (DepED) authorities here met with school administration representatives at the BPSTEA Building Friday to discuss the mechanics, roles and responsibilities of schools as the team visits their schools.

The team of two nurses from DepEd, a Department of Health (DOH) analyst, an encoder and another DepEd staff to assist the operations would tentatively start visiting schools at the beginning of March, sources during the meeting said.

Nurse take urine samples as the DOH analyst examines the urine samples for traces of substance abuse. The encoder also keeps a database for the tested students in the school, shared observers during the program launch in Manila last week.

In Manila schools, fifteen students were be picked by in random by computer. Only 10 were made to undergo the drug test itself however.

Authorities said the five acts as "buffer" in case there are absences among the 10 picked randomly.

Those found positive will be made to undergo "confirmatory" testing, authorities said.

The testing team would be carrying out the order everyday since launching until November to cover the 85, 000 students from 8,500 schools.

According to sources, the program allocates P25 million, with a P100-budget for each student.

Each drug testing kit, which detects shabu (metamphitamine hydrochloride) and marijuana on a student is worth P30. The confirmatory testing, the forms, and everything else will amount to P100 per student.

Over this, Dangerous Drugs Board Chief Toto Sotto has emphasized that the random drug testing would not be violating students' rights.

Moreover, Sec. Lapuz said "Parents need not worry about children's rights being violated. The guidelines also said we will not forced student to undergo the drug test."

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has also ordered mandatory drug testing among students in secondary and tertiary levels after naming herself as the country's anti-illegal drug czar. (PIA) [top]

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