Committee considers proposal to take urine, saliva samples A proposal to allow police to collect saliva or urine samples from drug suspects will be discussed today by the Action Committee Against Narcotics, sources revealed. The measures were among suggestions put forward by the Task Force on Youth Drug Abuse, a source said. The committee was to meet today - International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - to discuss the taskforce's proposal. The source said the committee would discuss how a compulsory testing system for reasonably suspicious cases, for example, in discos or schools, would work. It would also talk about stepping up law enforcement to test teenagers suspected of taking drugs, the source said. A source close to the committee said it was also considering the taskforce's suggestion to recruit private doctors to carry out the tests. The committee had been advised to take either saliva or urine as samples for instant testing at schools or discos. The taskforce, comprising various government departments and headed by Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung, was set up in October to combat drug abuse. A spokesman for the taskforce said it would launch a publicity campaign on Saturday and conclude short- and medium-term measures to combat drug abuse among teenagers in October. Cheung Man-kwong, the legislator representing the education sector, said the government must guarantee it would protect the identities of students who tested positive for drug use if the testing was permitted in schools. 'The government should state clearly that there is no penalty, only therapy for the students who take drugs,' he said. He also suggested parents sign an authorisation form when children enter secondary school to allow the schools to test their students. Meanwhile, a survey found that about 85 per cent of parents supported primary and secondary schools conducting instant testing for drug use, though some of them worried it would infringe on their children's privacy. The New Forum think-tank interviewed 1,462 people between 11 and 80 years old on their opinion on drug abuse among teenagers. Some 387 of the interviewees were parents of primary or secondary school students. When asked whether they would submit to an instant drug test with their parents' permission, 49 per cent of the students interviewed said they would. About 85 per cent of the parents interviewed said they supported the idea of instant testing. However, that included 45 per cent who said they were also worried that their children's privacy would be affected. Scarlett Pong Oi-lan, a member of the committee and New Forum, said the survey showed an urgent need for schools to conduct instant testing. 'The testing can also create a deterrent effect on children who want to take drugs,' she said. An instant test indicator for Ecstasy and ketamine cost HK$20 to HK$30, so they would not be a financial burden on schools or the government, she said. Ms Pong suggested the government allow police to conduct instant testing on suspected teenage drug users when conducting operations at discos or elsewhere and seized drugs. Of the interviewees, 3 per cent of parents and 5 per cent of students had taken drugs but did not now.