Random tests done to verify prevalence of drug use, not users: DepEd

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DAVAO CITY (July 16) — It is still too early to conclude the effectiveness of the random-sampling  drug test  survey  among  high school and college students, said  Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones.

Briones was reacting to the statement issued by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Aaron Aquino, that the Education department’s scheme of drug testing is “Ineffective as it couldn’t pinpoint who should be hit by the drug test.”

In a press conference at Pembo Elementary School in Makati City,  Briones explained that the objective of DepEd’s drug testing process is to determine the prevalence of drug use in schools in specific areas and not to determine who the drug users are.

“It is too early to say it’s not effective at all…We have different numbers because we use different methods. And sampling is really acceptable, legitimate manner of determining the status of a particular phenomenon,” she said.

The sampling methodology DepEd uses for familiarity is similar to the sampling methodology done by Pulse Asia or Social Weather Stations where they can provide a representativeness of their survey with respect to the entirety of the Philippine population.

Education officials said the DepEd’s mandate is to determine the prevalence as an input to our preventive drugs or anti-illegal drugs program. It is not to determine each and every drug user or in the entire secondary school and we also showed them the initial resource, it is a less than, even less that 1% so far, the partial result that we are getting.

Briones expained “They asked for our support and my answer was that I cannot make a commitment by my lonesome self. They have to do a lot of consultation with the parents, with the rest of society…and privacy is very difficult and very sensitive,” she said.

If PDEA wants to push through with the proposal, Briones said it would need to propose a bill which will make drug testing mandatory for high school and college students as it involves all sectors of the society. -Newsline.ph with PNA report

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