P.O. BOX 2120



May 14, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Non-regulatory Guidance for the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act


Across the country, a number of questions have been raised about the presence of prescription medication at school. The purpose of this memorandum is to assist schools in clarifying and understanding the relationship between the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) and the Code of Virginia regarding the administration of prescriptive drugs to students at school.


We have recently received information from the U.S. Department of Education that a new question and answer has been added to the non-regulatory guidance for the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act State Grants Program. The new item addresses the concern about the impact of SDFSCA provisions on students who need to receive medication or monitor a medical condition while at school.


Question: Do the provisions of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act) prohibit the presence of prescription medication (or paraphernalia used to administer such medication) at school?


Answer: No, a students prescription drugs, and related equipment, are not illegal drugs and are not prohibited by the SDFSCA. The SDFSCA defines drug prevention as prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation referral, or education related to the illegal use of drugs. Under the SDFSCA, the term drug includes controlled substances, the illegal use of alcohol and tobacco, and the harmful, abusive, or addictive use of substances, including inhalants or anabolic steroids.


Many students suffer from short-term or chronic illnesses that require them to take prescription medication that in some cases must be taken during the school day. As an example, students who have been diagnosed with diabetes may have to receive insulin during the school day, and as a result would need to have both the medication and a syringe available. The provisions of the SDFSCA do not prohibit these activities.


The revised non-regulatory guidance document can be accessed through the U.S. Department of Educations website on the Safe and Drug-Free Schools State Formula Grants page: For convenience, it has also been included as Attachment A to this memo.


Questions may be addressed to the Office of Student Services staff -- Gwen Smith, coordinator, School Health Services, at 804-786-8671 or Arlene Cundiff, coordinator, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program at 804-225-2871.