WHAT IS D.I.T.E.P?
D.I.T.E.P. is a program developed to train educational professionals about drug impairment, drug recognition and drug abuse in the school setting.
D.I.T.E.P. also trains educational professionals how to deal with students that may be impaired by drugs.
The 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), indicated that an estimated 19.5 million Americans (8.2% of the population aged 12 or older) had used an illicit drug during the previous month. Drug abuse, whether it involves controlled substances or the misuse of prescription drugs, has permeated almost every level of society to some degree. In 2003, an estimated 11 million people reported driving under the influence of an illicit drug during the past year (1). As many as 18% of 21 year-olds report drugged driving at least once during the past year (2).
To help combat this 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. Although DITEP is not intended to qualify participants as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), it is intended to make participants competent and confident in evaluating and documenting those individuals suspected of abusing drugs in the school setting.
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, it is anticipated that drug usage in schools employing an aggressive evaluation and detection program will decline. Consequently, not only will the disruption caused by individuals 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 DITEP training is two (2) days. Day one (1) is for ANYONE (affiliated with school) interested in this type of training. Day one works well for teachers, guidance counselors,school resource officers, sports coaches, and also high level administrator(s) since it focuses on general drug impairment and policies. Day two is best suited for those who will actually conduct the hands on evaluations, usually school nurses. The course program outline includes the following:
Introduction and Overview
Drugs In Society
Policy, Procedures, and Rules
Overview of Alcohol
Drug Identification, Categories and Effects
Contacting the Parent(s)
Divided Attention Tests
DITEP training is conducted ONLY by Nationally Certified Drug Recognition Expert Instructors, who have completed specialized training
in presenting the DITEP curriculum.
DITEP training does not qualify participants as drug recognition experts (DREs), or train individuals to determine specific drugs or drug categories a student
may be impaired by. It is intended to make high school nurses, principals and school resource officers competent and confident in documenting students suspected of abusing and being impaired by drugs.
At this time, there is no Federal/State funding available to provide DITEP classes. Costs can be borne by the district(s) requesting training.
To learn more about DITEP, please contact the state DEC Program coordinator;
Sgt. Don Decker
Nahant Police Dept.
- 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
- NSDUH Report: Drugged Driving, 2002 Update
- Chuck Hayes, IACP DECP.ORG