Pubdate: Sat, 14 Feb 2009
Source: Manila Bulletin (The Philippines)
Author: Gabriel S. Mabutas
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Senator Richard Gordon opposed yesterday the random  drug test 
program which the government launched last  week supposedly to curb 
the rampant drug addiction  among high school students nationwide.

He said conducting random drug testing among students  is not the 
best and most effective way of preventing  narcotics syndicates from 
preying on young people as  victims.

"I laud the government for addressing the drug  proliferation 
problem. However, I do not think that  conducting random drug test 
among high school students  would be very helpful because it would 
not deter drug syndicates from victimizing these students," he said.

"It is our responsibility to keep our students  absolutely focused 
and engaged on academic activities.  We should exert all efforts to 
ensure that our schools  are drug-free by providing them with an 
environment conducive to learning," he added.

The Department of Education (DepEd), in coordination  with the 
Department of Health (DOH) and the Dangerous  Drugs Board (DDB), 
started the random drug test program  last week in about 60 schools 
in Metro Manila despite  oppositions from various sectors.

The DepEd is set to expand the random drug testing  program, which 
will cost around R25 million, to Baguio,  Cebu, Davao , and Cagayan 
De Oro and expects to  complete the testing in 8,000 secondary 
schools nationwide by November.

However, the DepEd explained that only shabu and  marijuana can be 
detected from the drug tests it is  conducting since it would be too 
expensive for the  department to purchase kits that can identify 
traces of  ecstasy and cocaine, which are considered as luxury  drugs.

Based on the latest DDB figures, there are about half a  million 
young people aged fourteen and below who were  found out to be using 
illegal drugs.

Aside from the random drug test on students, Gordon  also disclosed 
that he wants Republic Act 9165 (RA  9165) or the Comprehensive 
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002  amended to abolish the mandatory drug 
test for drivers.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom