K9 detection dogs can help reduce drug and alcohol abuse in schools

Dog security. Picture: Supplied

Dog security. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 3, 2024


In South Africa, the epidemic of drug addiction and alcohol abuse among youngsters in schools remains a major concern.

According to George Fitzroy, managing director of Servest Security, these reports demonstrate how implementing K9 units in schools may help tackle the growing problem of substance addiction.

Fitzroy says it can be a proactive measure to guarantee a safer and better learning environment for faculty, staff, and learners.

He also highlights that K9 drug detection can drastically cut down on drug use in educational settings, if not completely eradicate it.

“These dogs have proven accuracy; they are efficient and act as deterrents. Their deployment is non-invasive, and it supports early intervention. There are legal compliance benefits to their use that can help in addressing substance abuse in educational facilities.”

“Their heightened senses enable them to safeguard against harmful and illicit substances, providing a crucial layer of security in schools,” he says.

“This proactive approach not only helps minimise the sale and use of illegal substances on school property, but also creates a sense of apprehension among students regarding drug possession. Regular searches act as effective deterrents.”

He says introducing K9s is a versatile way to ensure the safety and security of learners.

“They can be specifically trained for tasks such as guiding students, retrieving dropped items, and offering comfort during stressful situations. These dogs can play a vital role in assisting students with the physical, mental, or emotional challenges related to different forms of disability.”

To counter potential negative perceptions and privacy concerns, Fitzroy recommends that schools should openly communicate with learners to create an understanding that the deployment of these K9 searches is to enhance safety, not cast suspicion on individuals.

“It should be understood by parents and learners that the deployment of K9s is for the well-being of the entire school community, and fostering partnerships with students, teachers, and parents can create a safe school environment for all,” he said.

While K9s contribute to school security, schools should carefully assess both benefits and drawbacks over time, evaluate their impact on crime, violence, and substance use, and assess overall community responses.

“Alcohol use is increasing, and there is a surge in illicit drugs infiltrating school grounds. Incidents such as the one late last year at Pulamadibogo Primary School in Soshanguve, where students reported adverse effects after consuming space cookies containing marijuana, highlight the urgency of the issue.”

The Star