Gov't plans drug education for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 8) — Students as young as kindergarten may start to learn more about drug prevention in the coming school year.

Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles on Friday said the government is stepping up its Preventive Drug Education Program aimed at addressing the demand side of the country's drug problem.

"This program provides for drug education for each grade level from Kindergarten all the way to Grade 12," Nograles said in a Malacañang press briefing. He said it will be aligned in the curriculum while schools will also be allowed "to introduce preventive drug education in other subject areas."

The Department of Education (DepEd) is now preparing lesson plans "on life skills for drug abuse prevention and anti-illegal drugs topics," Nograles said.

It is also working with the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drugs Board to develop updated and comprehensive supplemental materials to integrate the preventive drug education into the curriculum.

"This will be rolled out in the coming school year," Nograles said, stressing that it will serve as a major resource for co-curricular programs, teachers' capacity-building, and parents' awareness and education.

Other anti-drug programs include the conduct of co-curricular activities such as art contests, the observance of drug abuse prevention and control week, putting up of national drug education program corners and the conduct of parenting seminars and counseling and coaching services.

The government will also step up its Drug Abuse Resistance Education program wherein active police officers teach lessons aimed at keeping students away from illegal drugs.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is also proposing to have students as young as Grade 4 or around 10 years old to undergo mandatory drug tests, but critics said the children are too young for such measure and that it is not backed up by law.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.