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Can students outsmart drug testing?

A group of child experts warned education agencies Department of Education (DepEd) as well as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the possibility of having students and adolescents “outsmart” drug testing.

The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), advocate of the well-being and rights of children, said among the factors to consider in conducting drug testing among students is the “efficacy of such action.”

“Many available psychoactive substances are not detectable by standard drug testing,” the PPS said. “Adolescents may attempt to outsmart drug testing by switching to a substance that is not detectable by urine testing or is not included in the panel,” it added.

Earlier, the DepEd announced that a mandatory drug testing will be implemented among its personnel and random drug testing for select secondary students – those in Junior and Senior High School both in public and private schools.

The drug testing is slated this September.

Meanwhile, CHED also encouraged HEIs to “adopt mandatory drug testing as part of institutional requirements of their admission and retention policies among students.”

However, the PPS urged the government to rethink thee policies due to various factors that might affect not only the lives of the children and of the community as a whole.

In a position paper on the “Unmitigated Killings of Suspected Drug Users that have Affected our Children, Adolescents, and their Families, and the Random Drug Testing of School Children,” prepared by the Philippine Society of Adolescent Medicine Specialists for the PPS, the group cited the need to carefully study the adoption of school-based drug testing before it is implemented.

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