Letters

Drug testing has been used in schools for several years

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7047.1671 (Published 29 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1671
  1. Peter Kilvert,
  2. Ruth Bryant
  1. Medical officer, Rugby School Medical officer, Rugby School 11 Whitehall Road, Rugby CV21 3AQ

    EDITOR,—Owen Dyer reports that Harrow School is to introduce drug testing of its pupils.1 Drug testing of urine samples has been used at other boarding schools, such as Marlborough College, Sevenoaks School, and Stowe School, for several years. Most boarding schools will probably be prepared for such tests in the near future.

    The internal working party at Rugby School, to which Dyer refers, includes a member of the community drugs team, who has worked closely with the school on drugs education for the past five years. We have provided medical advice based on draft guidelines issued by the Medical Officers of Schools Association to all its members last February. The collection of samples will be supervised by a person from outside the school, and—to answer the comment that Dr Richard Nicholson is reported as having made1—the procedures used will be just as rigorous as those used during drug testing in sport. Neither we nor the school nurses will be involved in the testing or in receiving results.

    The most important aspect of the drug testing is that a positive result will lead not to automatic expulsion but to counselling and supervision designed to help the pupil remain at the school. The system has been in use at Sevenoaks School for the past three years and works unobtrusively for the benefit of all the pupils.

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