VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY OF PAKISTAN

 

 

 

Policy on Drug and Tobacco Abuse in

Higher Education Institutions

2021

 

 


Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

 

ADTC

Anti-Drug And Tobacco Committee constituted under Section 3 of this policy

ANF

Anti-Narcotics Force

Drug(s)

This includes narcotic drugs as defined in the Control of Narcotics

Substances Act, 1997 as well as psychotropic substance listed in the Schedule to the Act, pharmaceutical drugs, sedatives and tranquilizers described in The Drugs Act, 1976 if used without a prescription or authorization, and alcohol prohibited by The Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order (4 of 1979)

Drug Abuse

Possession, use or the sale or distribution of such drugs

Focal Person

The Focal Person appointed under Section 3 of this Policy

HEC

Higher Education Commission

HEI

Higher Education Institute

NGO

Non-governmental organization

Smoking

Smoking shall have the same meaning as it does under the Prohibition of

Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002

Smoke free

Smoke free shall mean the prohibition of smoking and other use of tobacco in

accordance with the provisions of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002

Anti-Tobacco Legislation

The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health

Ordinance, 2002, or any other anti-tobacco legislation in the HEIs

jurisdiction, as applicable

Illicit Smoking

Smoking in any form for the consumption of drug and is considered as drug

abuse.

 

 

 

 

1. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

 

1.1. Drug abuse and smoking pose serious risks to human health and the social life of the community and have significant economic and environmental costs.

 

1.2. According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)s 2020 World Drug Report, in 2018, more than 35 million people suffered from the consequences of drug abuse. In fact, the number of drug users worldwide is on the rise with cannabis being the most commonly used drug.1 Other commonly used drugs include alcohol, methamphetamine, heroin, amphetamine-type stimulus (ATS), cocaine, ecstasy, opium, poly drug (a combination of several drugs), pharmaceutical cocktails, tranquilizers and sedatives. Factors contributing towards drug abuse include easy access to drugs at low prices, rapidly changing social norms, existence and presence of drug dens and cartels, unemployment and economic distress, lack of awareness on drug abuse within the family and in educational institutions, mental health problems (such as anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, grief, low self-esteem, frustration, rejection etc.), curiosity/urge to experiment, influence of media portrayals, peer pressure, lack of support by parents, the family and the community. To address the problem, the Federal Government has passed various laws including the Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997 and the Drugs Act, 1976, which proscribes the possession and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol with penalties for violations provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure up to and including capital punishment.

 

1.3. With respect to smoking, the World Health Organization documents that more than 8 million people die each year from tobacco use with 1.2 million of these deaths from passive smoking alone and many others facing tobacco-related health complications.2 Accordingly, the Federal Government enacted the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance No. LXXIV of 2002) to limit smoking at public places of work or use and in public service vehicles (except in designated areas) and to outlaw tobacco storage, sale, or distribution in the vicinity of educational institutions. Individuals and institutions who violate the law may face the penalty set out in sections 11 (a) and (b) of the Ordinance.

 

1.4. Like all other institutions, universities have a legal responsibility to implement all relevant national laws and policies and should join hands with all stakeholders including psychologists and psychiatrists, social workers, NGOs, and others to address the problem of unlawful drug and tobacco abuse.

 

1.5. To ensure that HEIs contribute to the reduction of drug abuse and smoking, this policy has been made pursuant to the powers granted to the HEC under the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002. It is binding on all HEIs in the country, whether operating in the public or private sectors. Violations or failures to comply with the HECs policies may lead to regulatory action being taken against non- compliant HEIs. The policy supplements national and provincial legislation on drug and tobacco use including the Drugs Act, 1976, the Control of Narcotics Substances Act XXV, 1997, the Drug Regulatory Act, 2012, and the Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance No. LXXIV of 2002)

 

 

 

1 UNODC World Drug Report 2020, https://www.unodc.org/unodc/press/releases/2020/June/media-advisory---global- launch-of-the-2020-world-drug-report.html.

2 Tobacco, Key facts, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact- sheets/detail/tobacco#:~:text=Tobacco%20kills%20more%20than%208,%2D%20and%20middle%2Din come%20countries.


 

2. SCOPE

 

2.1. This policy covers all public and private sector HEIs and is applicable to students, faculty, staff and visitors (including individuals associated with outsourced services) in the premises of HEIs (campus, class rooms, hostels, play grounds, libraries, laboratories, cafeterias & transport etc.)3

 

3. ANTI-DRUG & TOBACCO COMMITTEE AND FOCAL PERSONS FOR DRUG AND TOBACCO ABUSE

 

3.1. Anti-Drug & Tobacco Committee (ADTC): Each HEIs shall constitute an Anti-Drug & Tobacco Committee comprising of five members duly notified by the Vice Chancellor/Rector of the HEI. Any sub-campus of the HEI shall also establish its own sub-committee constituted on a similar pattern to perform similar duties.

 

3.2. Composition of the ADTC: The committee shall be headed by the senior most committee member and include:

a. Director Student Affairs or senior university officer / faculty designated as Chair of the accessibility committee.

b. two members from the faculty (one male and one female, both female in case of all women university)

c. at least one member from the student body as may be prescribed by the university

d. one representative of psychological wellbeing committee / universitys medical center /

planning & development department

e. one staff member deputed as secretary to the ADTC. General Provisions for work of the ADTC:

a. for the purpose of a meeting of the accessibility committee, three members shallconstitute a quorum.

b. in absence of the Chair, the senior most member shall act as Chair of the meeting.

c. the Chair and the members shall hold office for the period of three years and shall in no case be eligible for re-appointment for more than one similar term.

d. the Vice Chancellor shall appoint all members of the ADTC except the ex-officio members

and the representative of the student body

 

 

3.3. Roles and Responsibilities of the ADTC: The committee will be responsible for ensuring a drug free and smoke free environment in the HEI and to take measures to safeguard the interests of the students in the following ways:

i. by inquiring into, investigating and resolving any matter regarding the usage/consumption, sale and distribution illegal drugs in the HEI;

ii. by inquiring into, investigating and resolving any matter regarding the violation of Anti-Tobacco Legislation at the HEI;

iii. by coordinating with and connecting students to rehabilitative services including counselling, medical care and helplines when needed;

 

 

 

 

3 Each university may develop its own regulations for application of the policy on campus residential areas.


iv. by raising awareness on the prevalence, problems and persistence of drug abuse and tobacco consumption.

v. by providing advice to HEIs regarding the implementation of this policy and relevant legislation; and

vi. by ensuring effective coordination with all relevant stakeholders inside and outside the HEI.

vii. maintain close liaison with hostel wardens for implementation of this policy and may relocate the reasonably suspected student for drug abuse or found addicted student.

viii. By taking any other appropriate measures including but not limited to testing of an accused from any authorized laboratory

 

3.4. Focal Person for Drug and Tobacco Abuse: The member of the ADTC who is from the HEIs administration shall be appointed a Focal Person for matters related to Drug Abuse and unlawful tobacco consumption. The Focal Person will act as a liaison for the members of the HEI to the ADTC. If a student, staff, or faculty member feels that he or she needs medical and/or mental health assistance and counselling or would like to report Drug Abuse or smoking, the student, faculty or staff member may reach out to the Focal Person who will connect the individual to the services requested or refer the matter to the ADTC to begin an inquiry as the case may be.

 

 

4. EFFORTS TO PREVENT DRUG AND TOBACCO ABUSE

 

4.1. HEIs must undertake efforts to prevent drug abuse, smoking and illicit smoking. This section lists actions that HEIs must take as facilitated by the ADTC and the Focal Person.

 

4.2. Awareness raising against drug abuse and tobacco consumption:

 

i. Drug abuse: Possession, use, distribution and sale of drugs is prohibited in Pakistan. Each HEI must ensure that students, staff and faculty are aware of the legal and disciplinary penalties for drug possession, distribution and sale.

 

ii. Smoking: HEIs must display labels in accordance with the prohibition of smoking under Anti- Tobacco Legislation. Additionally, all students should be made aware of the adverse effects of smoking on health.

 

4.3. Awareness raising strategies: In order to create and promote awareness and to educate people about the negative effects of drug and tobacco use and its prohibition, HEIs, through the ADTC, shall take the following measures: -

 

i. All newly admitted students and newly appointed faculty/staff members shall attend a mandatory hour-long orientation session, arranged by the HEI. The session shall make them aware of this policy and the hazards of drug abuse and smoking.

 

ii. An undertaking in the form set forth in Annex-A&B shall be signed by all existing and newly recruited/admitted faculty, staff members, and students, and shall be submitted to the relevant office of the university.

 

iii. The HEI shall distribute drug and tobacco awareness material through student handbooks and pamphlets, including in the admissions materials (for awareness of both parents and students), incorporating details about the HEC policy (as well as its web link). This may


include graphical images/pictorial illustrations of the adverse health effects of drug and tobacco consumption.

 

iv. The relevant warnings under this policy as well provisions related to punishments for violations shall be displayed on the notice board of each department in the HEIs.

 

v. Awareness raising campaigns throughout the academic year including seminars, walks, workshops, and lectures shall be arranged in collaboration with ANF, NGOs, and professionals from reputable rehabilitation centers. Events may be organized if the HEI is in session in connection with the International Drug Abuse Day (June 26th) and World No Tobacco Day (May 31st).

 

vi. To create awareness against drugs abuse and smoking and strengthen prevention interventions, HEC in collaboration with national and international entities will develop and offer self-paced E-Course through National Academy of Higher Education that will be mandatory for all students (before completion of the degree), faculty and administrative staff during one year of launch of this policy.

 

vii. Any other programs the ADTC may determine appropriate from time to time.

 

4.4. Activities and programs: Students must be encouraged to participate in a diverse array of programs as healthy engagements that may prevent any inclination toward smoking or Drug Abuse. These include (but are not limited to):

 

i. extra and co-curricular activities on campus such as theater, dramatics etc.

 

ii. community service including plantation, distribution of food amongst the disadvantaged, volunteer work at old/shelter homes (the HEI may require community engagement & service hours at the undergraduate level);

 

iii. fitness, exercise, sports and athletic activities;

 

iv. Students, faculty and administrative staff of the university who have volunteered and worked extraordinarily for implementation of this policy shall be publicly acknowledged and conferred upon the certificate of appreciation on International Drug Abuse Day (June 26th) and/or World No Tobacco Day (May 31st) annually;

 

v. hosting and monitoring of recreational events by HEIs to provide an avenue to bring together students without drug and tobacco use; and

 

vi. any other program the ADTC may determine from time to time.

 

 

4.5. Engaging student clubs, organizations and societies and collaboration with other organizations: Student societies can additionally be engaged by the HEI in awareness raising activities. HEIs can collaborate with various governmental/non-governmental organizations, effectively working for the cause to eradicate drug abuse and discourage tobacco consumption. Through these liaisons, the students can also be provided with an opportunity to volunteer and facilitate ADTCs workings.


 

5. SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS OF HEIs DEALING WITH DRUG AND/OR TOBACCO ADDICTION/DEPENDENCE

 

5.1. HEIs should ensure that students, faculty, and staff facing drug and/or tobacco addiction/dependence are provided with adequate support. This section lists some of the support HEIs must provide. HEIs are encouraged to provide additional support as they choose.

 

5.2. On campus counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist: A counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist available at the HEI shall help students, staff and faculty members by guiding them through any problems or issues such as peer pressure and demotivation which often lead to drug and tobacco consumption. Any student suffering from any mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder may also seek assistance of the trained professional. If the student requires further assistance, the counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist may refer the student to rehabilitative services. For this purpose, the HEI shall maintain a list of such services.

 

5.3. Coordination with Parents: In case a students parents have been notified pursuant to the provisions of Section 7.2 or Section 7.3 of this policy, the HEI shall endeavor to coordinate with the parents of such students for purposes of helping the students with rehabilitation and facilitating their return to their studies in case of any gap.

 

5.4. Helpline: All HEIs shall establish a helpline that students, faculty and staff can call whenever they face a mental health issue or a situation in which they may have been tempted to use drugs or tobacco. This helpline will be staffed by a trained counsellor and a team of trained volunteers. Volunteers may include student, faculty, or staff. The helpline may refer students to the on-campus counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist, rehabilitative services, the ADTC or the relevant Focal Person.

 

5.5. De-stigmatization of the affected students and university members: Because students, faculty and staff using drugs may need significant medical and psychological assistance, all those who seek support for drug or tobacco dependence and addiction from the Focal Persons, counsellors/psychologists/psychiatrists and the helpline will receive counselling on a confidential basis. Provided that, in the event that a student requires medical attention for drug use the HEI shall promptly inform the students parents of the matter and coordinate with them to assure the best care for the student.

 

6. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

 

6.1. Regular inspection/monitoring: Campus security shall undertake frequent and random visits to the cafeterias, canteens, tuck shops, and other such places susceptible to the sale, usage and distribution of drugs/tobacco and stop any suspicious and illicit activity occurring in contravention of this policy and relevant legislation.

 

6.2. Training programs: Staff and faculty may receive training aimed at understanding behavior indicative of drug abuse so that they may refer such matters to the Focal Person in order to protect the health of the students.

 

6.3. Complaint: Any person associated with the HEI including (but not limited to) the student, faculty member, non-teaching staff, administrative staff, or a visitor may submit a complaint in writing to the Vice Chancellor, stating that any person has engaged in drug abuse, illicit smoking, or the unlawful sale or distribution of drugs/tobacco at the HEI. The identity of the whistle blower/complainant shall be kept


confidential. The Vice Chancellor will forward the complaint to the committee without revealing the identity of the whistle blower. The Focal Person shall maintain a proper record of all complaints.

 

6.4. Initial Scrutiny: Each complaint shall be assessed based on shared information. Complaints substantive in nature and associated with sufficient supporting documents/evidence shall be considered for further investigation by the ADTC.

 

6.5. Investigation: The ADTC shall investigate all non-frivolous complaints before making its decision through the following process:

 

i. Initiation of an inquiry.

 

ii. The body of facts or information (evidence) that the ADTC uses could be:

Eyewitness evidence

Physical evidence individual found in possession of any illegal substance, individual found intoxicated (proven by a drug test) or individual caught distributing any illegal drugs or tobacco on campus

Video recording of the security cameras

 

iii. A personal hearing/s with the accused prior to any checking.

 

iv. Random testing/checking of possessions/individuals by campus security on the recommendation of a committee member.

 

6.6. Decision: All complaints shall be decided by the ADTC within one month of their receipt and the ADTCs recommendation shall be communicated to the concerned in writing. The HEI may assign penalties as detailed in section 7 of this policy.

 

6.7. Appeal: An appeal to the decision may be made by the aggrieved within seven working days of the receipt of the decision to the Vice Chancellor / Rector, who shall review the recommendations of the ADTC and uphold, minimize, or revert the decision made by the committee within seven working days. The decision taken by the Vice Chancellor / Rector shall be final.

 

6.8. False Complaint: In the event that the ADTC determines that a false allegation was made in the complaint with mala fide intent, it may send its findings to the Vice Chancellor / Rector and recommend the Vice Chancellor / Rector take disciplinary action against the complainant.

 

7. PENALTIES

 

7.1. To discourage drug abuse and smoking, the HEI may impose the penalties detailed below.

 

7.2. Drug Abuse: For drug-related violations, the HEI may, on recommendation by the ADTC, take disciplinary action against students, staff, faculty, and visitors in the following way:

 

 

i. For first time offenders in case of minor infractions, the ADTC may refer the offender to the in-house counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist to undergo medical and mental health treatment. This referral must be in writing and require the completion of the counselling or rehabilitative program within a set period.


ii. In the event of a significant violation and/or repeated violations of this policy, the ADTC may recommend that the HEI issue a warning and ultimately suspend or expel the offender (and in case of students, notify the students parents). Further, the HEI would have to comply with any reporting requirements under any applicable law.

 

iii. If a student, faculty, or staff member is involved in the distribution or sale of illicit drugs, the HEI shall report the violation to the appropriate authorities including law enforcement agencies.

 

iv. In the event a visitor is found on the premises engaging in any drug-related offense, campus security shall immediately report the violation to the appropriate authorities including law enforcement agencies.

 

7.3. Smoking: For smoking-related violations, the HEI may, on recommendation by the ADTC, impose the following penalties:

 

i. For a first violation, the ADTC may recommend the HEI issue a warning letter and a notice of displeasure;

 

ii. For a second violation, the ADTC may recommend suspension of the student for one week or more from the premises of the HEI with parental notification for students and disciplinary action for faculty and staff as per the HEIs regulations;

 

iii. For a third violation or more, the ADTC may recommend a longer suspension depending on the severity of the violation and further disciplinary action for faculty and staff as per HEIs regulations;

 

iv. In case any visitor is found smoking in the HEIs premises, the visitor shall be fined Rs. 1,000 by the HEI, and any further necessary action shall be taken in accordance with the Anti- Tobacco Legislation.

 

v. In case of any unlawful sale or distribution of tobacco on the premises of the HEI, the violator shall be fined Rs. 5,000 by the HEI and shall be reported to the appropriate authorities including law enforcement agencies.

 

8. ENFORCEMENT OF THIS POLICY

 

8.1. Survey/ Feedback mechanism: An annual survey shall be conducted, asking students and staff members to respond to an anonymous closed-ended questionnaire related to matters covered under this policy. In case the student body is large, survey shall be conducted through random sampling. The office of the Focal Person shall analyze the findings and present them to the ADTC for review and comment.

 

8.2. Compliance reports: HEIs must submit annual compliance reports along with survey reports by December 31st of each year to the HEC in a format prescribed by the HEC from time to time.

 

8.3. Implementation of this policy: Each HEI shall establish the standing ADTC and designate the Focal Person in accordance with the provisions of the policy no later than October 31, 2021 and submit a statement


of compliance with this provision to the HEC by the aforementioned date (including the names and designations of the appointed members). Further, HEIs that do not currently have an on-campus counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist, or a helpline must make arrangements in this regard by December 01, 2021 (and submit a statement of compliance to the HEC by the aforementioned timeline).

 

 

 

8.4 HEC may assign weightage to the HEIs compliance with this policy in the recurrent grant formula, the ranking criteria and the Institutional Performance Evaluation (IPE)



 

 

UNDERTAKING


Annex- A


 

Roll number/ Registration Number

 

Program Title

 

Name

 

CNIC/CRC Number

 

Contact Number

 

Father/ Guardians Name

 

Father/ Guardians Contact Number

 

Gender

 

Date of Birth

 

Mark of Identification

 

Blood Group

 

Any Disability

 

Any Existing Medical Problem or Mental-Health

Issues

 

Taking any Medicine on a Regular Basis (if yes, please give details)

 

 

I son/daughter of certify that I am/shall not be involved in any kind of drug abuse (bringing into the campus/consuming or encouraging consumption of drug and narcotics substances) or the unlawful use of tobacco products at the HEI. The HEI is authorized to examine me for drug abuse at any time and to take any measure to ensure the implementation of its policies. Moreover, parents will be informed if I will be involved in any drug / tobacco related unlawful activity. Further, I have read and am aware of the provisions of the Higher Education Commissions Policy on Drug and Tobacco Abuse in Higher Education Institutions.

 

 

 

 

Signature Signature of Father/ Guardian (for students) Dated: Dated:

Note: Please submit this undertaking form at the concerned office after joining the HEI. For current

members of the HEI, please submit in accordance with the timelines prescribed by the HEI.


ANNEX-B

 

UNDERTAKING FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

 

Name

 

Designation

 

Department

 

CNIC/CRC Number

 

Contact Number

 

Gender

 

Date of Birth

 

Mark of Identification

 

Blood Group

 

Any Disability

 

Any Medical Problem or Mental-Health Issues

 

Taking any Medicine on a Regular Basis (if yes,

please give details)

 

 

I son/daughter of

certify that I am/shall not be involved in any kind of drug abuse (bringing into the campus/consuming or encouraging consumption of drug and narcotics substances) or the unlawful use of tobacco products at the HEI. The HEI is authorized to examine me for drug abuse at any time and to take any measure to ensure the implementation of its policies. Further, I have read and am aware of the provisions of the Higher Education Commissions Policy on Drug and Tobacco Abuse in Higher Education Institutions.

 

 

 

 

Signature

 

 

Dated:

 

 

 

Note: Please submit this undertaking form at the concerned office after joining the HEI. For current members of the HEI, please submit in accordance with the timelines prescribed by the HEI.