PDEA wants all HS, college students to take drug tests

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Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 14) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) wants to require all high school and college students to undergo drug testing to help determine the prevalence of drug use among the youth.

"We will propose mandatory for high school and college. We will ask for a meeting with CHED (Commission on Higher Education) next week," PDEA Chief Gen. Aaron Aquino told CNN Philippines Friday.

This, after Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones refused the PDEA's proposal to include students as young as 10 years old in mandatory drug testing. She said they will only be included in the tests if the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is amended.

Section 36 of that law reads:

(c) Students of secondary and tertiary schools. - Students of secondary and tertiary schools shall, pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in the school's student handbook and with notice to the parents, undergo a random drug testing: Provided, That all drug testing expenses whether in public or private schools under this Section will be borne by the government;

PDEA earlier said random tests may not be enough to determine the magnitude of drug use among the youth.

Briones said she will study PDEA's proposal.

"We have to do a lot of consultation with the parents, with the rest of society," Briones said Friday.

DepEd ordered drug tests on 21,000 high school students in January, but 7,921 have been tested. Of them, only two tested positive, both for marijuana use.

Briones claimed sampling size can determine the prevalence of drug use among high schoolers, and identify which areas are most affected.

"It is too early to decide whether it is effective or not because the drug testing process has not been completed," she said.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.