To open the National Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week, the Ateneo de Davao University’s Center Against Illegal Drugs (CAID) presented the internal guidelines for the conduct of the Mandatory Random Drug Testing in the University, last November 20, at Finster Auditorium.
University Community Engagement and Advocacy (UCEAC) Executive Secretary Atty. Arnold Abejaron, Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Asst. Director Atty. Ira Valenzuela and University Registrar Atty. Edgar Pascua III of the CAID discussed the policies of the said drug test.
According to the presentation, the guidelines are formulated to aid the government in addressing the drug problem in the country. It aims to determine the prevalence of drug use, if any, inside the AdDU community, to ensure that everyone in the University will be free from use.
It was also mentioned that the guidelines should cover and apply to the students of Junior High School (JHS), Senior High School (SHS), all Colleges and Schools of the University, including its administrators and employees.
“The mandatory random drug testing is not something that the Ateneo only does because it wants to create a policy for the University. It is something that is required by law. Such law is already there, and we have no option but to comply to it,” Atty. Pascua explained.
After the presentation of guidelines, Questions regarding the drug testing were also addressed by the CAID members.
From the audience, a faculty member asked about the subjects being allowed to refuse to undergo the mandatory random drug testing.
Atty. Abejaron clarified that the refusal of the subjects would not be an indication that they are using drugs. However, he stated that they cannot refuse to do it because if they do, they will be sanctioned on account of non-compliance with the school policy.
As a follow-up question, she asked what may happen to those who will be found positive in the test and refuse to undergo rehabilitation. In addition to that, what if they decide to have a leave of absence?
“Father Tabora made it clear for us that if we find people here, especially students, who are into drugs, we will keep them in the school so we can help them rather than make them stop schooling. Baka mas mapariwara pa,” Atty. Pascua shared.
He answered that if they refuse to be helped, they should remember that there is the element of participation of the state. In their case, CAID will engage with Department of Health (DOH) since they have high ethical standards.
“The DOH will follow-through sa mandatory rehabilitation, that’s why, keep the matter here because you are guaranteed that the school will look after your welfare and it will be in the light of formative orientation of the school,” he stated.
Atty. Abejaron added that apart from that (an extreme situation is if a subject is incorrigible), when his/her continued presence in the university may be considered already not in his/her best interest, it is also within the power of the university to exercise its academic freedom to recommend for the moment that the student go on a leave of absence.
“So merong ganun kasi your continued presence may already become a threat to other students whom the university also has the duty to protect,” he stressed.
Atty. Pascua pointed out that during the confirmatory test, there will be an assessment of the level of dependency. This will help the University determine the proper action to be taken in supporting the subject.
A BS-Marketing student asked for the process or a walk-through after a subject has been found positive.
“There will be two tests: first, the screen test and second, the confirmatory test. If a person is found to be positive, there is no need to give another urine sample because the same sample will be submitted for confirmatory testing. Also, the same process will be done in the second test para walang bias,” Atty. Pascua said.
He added that the matter would be discussed by your respective drug testing coordinator. He/She will then refer the matter to the Interdisciplinary Case Management Committee (ICMC) that will deliberate on the appropriate action. Atty. Pascua said that they may refer you to rehabilitation or perhaps a constant consultation with a drug consultant, depending on your level of dependency.
Another question was raised on how the collection of the sample will be done.
Atty. Pascua answered that on the same day, the selection board would draw a lottery. The students will be called to come to a private location on the campus. Before the collection, everyone will be oriented to the rationale, procedure, and rights of the subjects in the conduct of the testing.
“After that, those who are ready will be asked to get a container. The interesting part here is that somebody of the same gender will accompany you to the harvesting area. He/She will be at a distance (sa likod), but before you get your sample, kapkapan sa ka. You will be asked to remove your external garments, like a jacket. After collection, you will sign a document that will acknowledge that you submitted your urine sample,” he explained.
The CAID members emphasized that according to the rules if you are absent on the day of the testing, you will not be replaced by another subject. Those who were absent will still be included in the statistics.
“By estimate, if we are 8000, I think tumatakbo tayo sa more or less 400 samples,” Atty. Abejaron answered when asked about how big the sample size will be.
In cooperation with the SAMAHAN Central Board, the National Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week lasts until Friday, November 24. A Multisectoral Panel Discussion on the Efforts on the War on Drugs will be conducted on that day to conclude the week-long event.