Drug Testing News BLOG

The Department of Education in Manila, the Philippines, has announced that it will push through with its planned random drug testing on high school and college students, despite opposition from the Commission of Human Rights. Testing is scheduled to commence on February 2, is expected to involve up to 85,000 students and will run until October.

The testing will begin in the Philippines' three major cities: the capital, Manila, in Luzon island in the northern Philippines, Cebu City in the Visayas region in the central Philippines, and Davao City in the island of Mindanao, the premier city in the southern Philippines.

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Testing will be done in two stages. The first stage will involve urine sampling. Those samples that will test positive for illegal drugs will be examined further in the second stage, termed the ˜confirmatory' test. For this stage, a student who will test positive will be provided with a drug testing kit, complete with chemical solutions and specimen bottles needed for drug testing.

This is not the first time that the Philippines will conduct random drug testing in schools, but this is by far the largest effort in terms of the population that will be tested. In 2005, the government conducted random testing on 30 students from 17 different schools from the various regions of the country.

At this time, no implementing rules and guidelines have been set for the execution of the testing. These guidelines will most probably be patterned after the process followed in 2005.

While this drug testing effort will be wider in scope than the previous testing, it will still only reach a small fraction of the population only 4% of the country's estimated seven million secondary and tertiary students. This population, however, will be enough to identify the regions where illegal drug use in campuses is prevalent.

This information will, in turn, assist the Department of Education, as well as the Dangerous Drugs Board, in setting up drug intervention efforts such as education and counseling where they are needed the most.