Parents unsure about drug tests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 July, 2009, 12:00am

More than a third of parents would not support voluntary drug tests in schools until they learned more about the scheme, according to a survey conducted last week by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

More than 35 per cent of the 151 parents polled said they had reservations, while 7.3 per cent would not let their children participate. One respondent said forcing such tests on children was a violation of their privacy, and another respondent feared his children would be expelled if they were found to be drug users.

The Commissioner for Narcotics said yesterday students found to have drug problems would not be prosecuted. 'If we find some students are taking drugs, they will be referred to doctors and social workers,' Sally Wong Pik-yee said.

Meanwhile, DAB legislators Lau Kong-wah and Gary Chan Hak-kan will meet officers from the Shenzhen police bureau on Wednesday to talk about developing a communications system whereby Shenzhen police can refer young Hong Kong drug abusers to Hong Kong authorities for follow-up action. Shenzhen police arrested 119 young Hongkongers in drug raids on July 4.

'First, we need to stop our youth from falling into the drug network during the summer vacation,' Mr Lau said. 'And for those already arrested, non-government organisations may play a role in helping to follow up on these cases.'

Mr Chan said the government should focus more resources on counselling and rehabilitation - especially after 23 schools in Tai Po begin a pilot school-based voluntary drug testing scheme in September.

The government said yesterday it planned to spend HK$9 million this summer on a scheme encouraging teens to develop hobbies and interests to keep them away from drugs.

Meanwhile, in another poll, 20 per cent of respondents said the city should have more drug rehabilitation schools like Christian Zheng Sheng College. The survey, by the Liberal Party, interviewed 600 people.