Drug Impairment Training for Education Professionals


To help combat the growing problem of drugs in the educational environment, at least three states, Arizona, Kansas and New York, each independently developed training to address this issue. In cooperation with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the strengths from the three programs were combined to form the Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP). This training is intended to provide school administrators and nurses with a systematic approach to recognizing and evaluating individuals in the academic environment who are abusing and impaired by drugs, both legal and illegal, in order to provide early recognition and intervention.

DITEP is derived from the national Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program, a successful law enforcement procedure used to detect drug and alcohol impaired drivers. The methods employed in this training are based on medical and scientific facts. The information is supported by research conducted in both laboratory and field studies. The DEC Program was validated in laboratory by studies conducted at the Johns Hopkins University, and in the field by the Southern California Research Institute.

The training will enable school nurses to determine first of all, whether or not the student is impaired. If it is determined that there is impairment, whether the impairment is due to a medical problem or is drug related. And finally, if the impairment is drug related, through proven diagnostic procedures, what category or categories of drugs that are likely causing the observed impairment.

By providing training to school officials and health care professionals, DITEP enables schools to employ an aggressive evaluation and detection program that will cause drug usage in schools to decline. Consequently, not only will the disruption caused by those abusing drugs be decreased, but also the incidence of those individuals driving to and from schools while impaired by either alcohol or drugs will also be greatly reduced, making our communities and schools a safer place for all.

The IACP does not conduct any DITEP training, but it is available in many states. Your state's DEC Program coordinator can provide more information. 

Course Overview

Course Content

The DITEP training is for two days. The first day is for anyone (affiliated with the school) interested in this type of training. Day one works well for high-level administrators since it focuses on general drug impairment and policies. Day two is best suited for those who will actually conduct the-hands on evaluations, more likely school nurses and school resource officers. The course program outline includes the following:

Day One

Introduction and Overview
Drugs In Society
Policy, Procedures, and Rules
Overview of Alcohol
Drug Identification, Categories and Effects
Contacting the Parent(s)

Day Two

Eye Examinations
Vital Signs
Divided Attention Tests
Poly Drugs
Assessment Process

DITEP Instructor Qualifications

The instructor(s) should be a DRE who is a SFST or DRE instructor, or a DRE with other verifiable instructor training. At a minimum, the instructor candidate must attend the Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP) orientation briefing.

Course Planning

The day before the first session of the DITEP training the DITEP instructors will meet with those candidates training to be certified as DITEP instructors. This informational-sharing session lasts approximately three-four hours. Each candidate instructor conduct two hours of classroom instruction under the observation of the certified DITEP trainer(s), who will monitor both days of the DITEP training for any additional input or recommendations. After completing this first session, the candidate instructors will be qualified to train other DITEP instructors.

DITEP training does not qualify participants as drug recognition experts (DREs). It is intended to make high school nurses, principals and school resource officers competent and confident in evaluating and documenting students suspected of abusing and being impaired by drugs.

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