Consultation on drug test scheme launched

Scheme aims to identify drug abusers at an early stage to allow earlier intervention

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 2:55pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 3:02pm

A consultation on a proposed community drug-testing scheme has launched today.

The government scheme will focus on identifying drug abusers at an early stage to allow earlier intervention.

To address concerns over possible infringements on human rights, the Action Committee Against Narcotics says the new mechanism will be based on the current drug-driving test.

The tests will be conducted only if drugs are found in the suspect’s immediate vicinity and police have reasonable doubts that a person may be under the influence of drugs.

Only trained and authorised police officers will be allowed to ask suspected drug abusers to take a screening test, including checking if the suspect can respond to questions “in a normal way” and tests for impairment such as an eye examination.

Only those who have failed to pass screening tests will be required to have bodily samples taken at police stations. Those aged under 18 will take the drug test in the presence of an independent party such as their parents or parties from “a pool of independent people” consisting of for example lawyers and legislators, among others.

While further details about the scheme will not be revealed until the next consultation stage, the Action Committee Against Narcotics during the current first stage will invite different stakeholders to express their views.