THE regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao Region admitted Saturday that a number of high school students in the region were found positive of drug use after the conduct of random drug testing.

DepEd-11 regional director Susana Teresa Estigoy said samples from more than 100 students from selected private and public high school in Davao Region underwent drug testing in November last year and "a minimal number" were found positive of using illegal drugs.

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"The most I can tell you is, yes (there were students who were found positive) but do not ask me about who, where, and why. The most I can tell you is yes but (out of the random sample) the number is very very minimal," Estigoy said during Kapihan sa PIA media forum.

As to how the region fared with the results from the other regions, and what type of illegal drugs the students took, Estigoy said she has no knowledge on the matter.

Estigoy emphasized that DepEd conducted the regional drug testing to keep tab on the students' condition and not for punishment.

"We always say that we look at this as a health issue and not as a legal issue," Estigoy said.

"We are very concerned, just like the parents, about the confidentiality of the results so we make sure that we practice extreme confidentiality. We are aware that during high school, teenagers are usually confused. Others affected by peer-pressure," Estigoy said.

She said those found positive of using illegal drugs will be provided with proper guidance counseling along with their parents.

"They will undergo regular counseling not to punish them but to guide them of the results of their actions. We are also depending on the support of their parents because the students are still at the point when they can be very sensitive about their growth," Estigoy said.

"We will be coming up with a report on how to discourage drug use in schools. We conducted this random drug testing in the first place to see the situation and we're doing a campaign on that. Even before this drug test we have been doing a campaign against drugs so we'll just be intensifying that," she added.