Find out what the law says about drug testing in schools

Should there be mandatory drug testing in schools?

What does the law say about drug testing in schools and what rights do the teenagers have in this matter?

Eusebius McKaiser engaged University of Pretoria's department of family medicine drug use and policy expert Shaun Shelly about the guidelines the Department of Basic Education has on drug testing in schools.

Shelly says the principal has to be involved and the school has to notify the parents beforehand.

The rights of the individual are protected as per the Constitution and the school has to operate within those conditions.

Shaun Shelly, Drug use and policy expert - University of Pretoria department of family medicine

Shelly says there are other conditions because this involves vulnerable children.

You can't just randomly test people a school. You have to have some reasonable suspicion and have a good indication that there is a valid reason for testing.

Shaun Shelly, Drug use and policy expert - University of Pretoria department of family medicine

You have to have a response to the testing should a person test positive.

Shaun Shelly, Drug use and policy expert - University of Pretoria department of family medicine

READ: Don't think of going to work high on a joint...it can be tested

He says usually schools conduct urine tests.

Urine testing is very inaccurate, you could have smoked cannabis three months ago, and it might test positive.

Shaun Shelly - Drug use and policy expert - Department of family medicine University of Pretoria

ALSO READ: Ronald Lamola on a mission to tackle the scourge of drugs

Shelly debunks the myth that South Africa has the highest levels of drug use in the world.

We have some of the highest levels in Africa. We actually don't know who is using what drugs, where, when and how.

Shaun Shelly - Drug use and policy expert - Department of family medicine University of Pretoria

Listen to the full interview below...


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