Substance Abuse Policy – Shanbally N.S.

This policy was developed by the staff, Board of Management and Parents Association of Shanbally National School in consultation with the Executive Health Service.
Shanbally National School is committed to addressing the needs of the whole school in relation to substance use, noting that a drug is ‘any substance that changes the way the body functions, mentally, physically or emotionally’.

Shanbally National School acknowledges that the school has an important role in terms of education, prevention, support and handling drug related incidents and proposes to work closely with parents/guardians to implement this policy, to ensure their child’s health and safety. It is emphasised that the primary role of substance misuse and prevention rests with the pupils’ parents/guardians.

Shanbally National School is committed to enabling students to fulfil their academic, intellectual, moral, spiritual, social, cultural and physical potential and in fostering the development of personal responsibility in an atmosphere of tolerance, fairness and support.

Shanbally National School endeavours to promote the well being of students by:

  • Providing a safe and healthy environment.
  • Promoting positive healthy behaviour.
  • Increasing knowledge about health.
  • Promoting self-esteem and self-awareness of students.
  • Working in partnership with parents and pupils.


Copies of this policy will be available in the school, on request.
This policy will be regularly evaluated and updated where necessary.


The policy will focus on

  • Statement of school position on substance use
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes
  • Managing Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco and Substance related incidents
  • Training and staff development
  • Monitoring, review and evaluation.

This document should be read in conjunction with the Shanbally National School Administration of Medication policy and the Code of Behaviour and Discipline.

Statement of School Position on Substance Use

Smoking and Tobacco

Shanbally National School is a restricted smoking area as clearly indicated by signs on and around the school premises.
Students are not permitted to smoke or possess cigarettes on school premises, on school activities or on school tours.
All persons on the school premises are required to comply with the restricted smoking policy.


The school is an alcohol free zone. The Board of Management may grant exceptions for events organised by the parents association, for example, the end of year school party.
Students are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol on school premises, on school activities or on school trips.

Illicit Drugs

Students are prohibited from possession, use or supply of illicit drugs on school premises, on school activities or on school tours.


The school does not accept the misuse of solvent-based substances.
All chemicals on the school premises are locked away and prohibited for student use unless under direct teacher supervision.


All use of medication on school premises, on school activities or on school trips should comply with Shanbally National School policy on Administration of Medication.

No student may give another student any prescribed or over the counter medication.

Breaches of these rules

All breaches of the rules shall be considered to be serious misconduct.
Pupils found in breach of these rules will be dealt with in accordance with the procedures set out in section 3 and in accordance with the Shanbally National School Code of Behaviour and Discipline.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes

This school is committed to providing an Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programme incorporated into our Social and Personal Health Education Programme. We will also draw on the expertise available within our community, with the support of the Garda and Health Executive Service.

Our educational aims in relation to Drug Education are:

  • To increase self-esteem and confidence of our students.
  • To equip our students with personal and social skills.
  • To enable our students to make informed, healthy and responsible choices.
  • To provide clear and appropriate information on drugs.
  • To minimise harm.

These aims will be achieved through:

  • Staff

Participation in Drug awareness training, SPHE training or any other relevant training through regular in-service courses.
Appointment of Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco and Substance Policy co-ordinator.

  • Students

SPHE programme, incorporating Stay Safe and Walk Tall
SESE programme, incorporating science
A health promoting environment.

  • Parents

Drug information and awareness sessions to be organised for parents on a biannual basis.
Pamphlets available in school hall.

  • Whole School Community

Outside speakers on relevant topics for staff, students and parents as appropriate.

Managing alcohol, tobacco and drug related incidents
in Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile.
What is a drug incident?

When a student is alleged or found to be in possession of or suspected of being in possession of alcohol, tobacco, solvents and illegal drugs as well as a whole range of over the counter and prescribed medicines on school property or school related activities either for personal use or distribution or sale without the permission of school staff and parents will be deemed an incident in Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile.

The following are examples of drug related incidents:

Emergencies when the person may be unconscious
Intoxication/unusual behaviour
Suspicion/rumour of drug use, possession or dealing
Disclosure by another person
Possession of a legal/illegal drug on the school premises or on a school related activity
Selling/supplying legal/illegal drugs
Person seeking help from member of staff
School grounds being used for drug activity
Drug paraphernalia found on school property.

Course of action to be followed.

We, in Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile, acknowledge that in all situations involving drugs, there needs to be a balance between the needs of the young person, the needs of the school community and the reputation of the school.
In all cases where there is no immediate danger to the young person/s, it is important to assess the situation. Listening, separating fact from myth and support will be our initial approach to the situation. Disciplinary procedures will be called in if school rules are broken and expulsion will only be an option when all else has failed. A Drug Incident Form will need to be completed. (See Incident Report Form).
Sanctions and punishments will be implemented depending on the nature and severity of the offence.

Who needs to be informed?

In Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile, the Principal, Drug Co-Ordinator and person/s directly involved in the case will be informed.
In most cases the school will want to involve the parents/carers from the outset and offer support which will be provided by outside agencies e.g. The Health Service Executive Southern Area, GP, and Gardai. The Chairperson of the B.O.M. also needs to be informed.
It is at the discretion of the Board of Management where to report next but could include Department of Education and Science and the Gardai.
It is agreed that the Principal or a designated person will contact the Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO) in the event of a confirmed drug incident and any drugs found on the premises will be dealt with by the JLO.
If the person involved in the incident has a serious drug habit then referral to a treatment centre will be recommended.


Teachers in Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile cannot offer total confidentiality to a young person who discloses drug involvement. Information must remain private and only disclosed on a ‘need to know basis’ as the young person may need help and the outcome may depend on how this situation is handled. The young person must be informed about what is happening and why. All written documentation will be held confidentially by the Principal.

Administration of Medication

See School policy on “The administration of medicines in Shanbally National School


The Principal will handle all media enquiries. The school will not comment on individual cases but will refer generally to the school policy and the procedures in place to manage any drug related incident.

Training and Staff Development

This policy will only be effective if there is a strong commitment made to ongoing training of the whole school community. Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile undertakes to provide the following:

  • Staff

Facilitation of training for the SPHE programme, First Aid course or any other relevant course.
Regular drug information and awareness training on at least a once every three year basis.
Facilitation of specific incident management training for Substance Abuse Policy co-ordinators, and key staff members.

  • Parents/Guardians

Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile in conjunction with the Parents Association, Health Service Executive Southern Area and Gardai, will provide all parents/guardians with the opportunity to attend drug awareness and information sessions in the current school year.
Regular drug information and awareness training will hereafter be provided on at least a once every three year basis.

  • Students

Scoil Náisiúnta Seanbhaile will offer all its students Substance Use education within the context of their SPHE programme, and other relevant programmes.

Monitoring the Policy, Review and Evaluation

The working committee drafting this policy will be involved in its evaluation when it has been in place for one school year.
The areas of school position on Substance Use, Drug Education Programmes, Incident management
and whole school community training will be reviewed in light of need, experience and best practise.


Thereafter, the Substance Use Policy co-ordinators, Anne-Marie Barry and Oonagh Cunningham, will monitor as per above criteria once per school year, to ensure that it continues to be of practical benefit to the school.

The results will be recorded and reported to The Summer Term Staff meeting.