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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 16:26 GMT
Drugs tests are working says head
Peter Walker
Peter Walker says pupils support the drug testing
Random drug testing is working as a deterrent says the head of a school which introduced tests last month.

Peter Walker, head teacher of Abbey School in Faversham, Kent, says pupils are deciding not to take drugs because of the threat of tests.

There have been 64 voluntary drugs tests at the school this year, using mouth swabs.

And so far no pupils have tested positive - which the head says reflects the impact of the testing regime.

Mr Walker says pupils have been discouraged from taking drugs because of the risk of getting caught - and that they are using the tests as a way of avoiding peer pressure to take drugs.

Testing times

"Maybe young people have been looking for an acceptable way to be able to say no to their peer group without losing face," said Mr Walker.

"We also have reliable information that a small number of students known to have taken drugs have stopped taking them because of the testing programme and the possible fear of being caught out.

"In addition to that there is some information that some so-called drugs takers have cut down on their habits."

Each week 20 pupils at the school are selected at random for testing.

A large majority of parents have given their permission for children to be tested - and so far, only two pupils have refused.

Mr Walker said that pupils were now used to the testing, and supported measures which protected the non-drug taking majority.

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