S for S: Government plans to extend Tai Po school drug testing to other districts (with photo)

     The Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing in Tai Po District will give the Government invaluable experience in formulating future anti-drug policies and effectively rolling out school drug testing in other districts, the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, said today (October 23).

     Speaking at the North District Fight Crime Committee meeting, Mr Lee said the trial scheme, which focuses on rectifying the school drug problem, would start in Tai Po District in December this year.

     Mr Lee said, "The trial scheme will boost the determination of those students who have not taken any drugs to stay away from drugs.  They will definitely say no to their peers even when they are tempted to try drugs and this will help prevent the spread of drugs in schools.

     "The trial scheme will also trigger the motivation of those students abusing drugs to quit drugs and seek help, especially those who are trying drugs at an early stage.  The scheme will also ensure that appropriate support services are provided to students who wish to pull themselves out of the drug environment."

     He stressed that the scheme would be on a voluntary basis and aimed to help students with their best interests in mind.

     Mr Lee said, "The voluntary participation of schools, parents and students will be the prerequisite before drug testing takes place.  To protect the privacy of the students, all information collected in the testing process will be kept confidential.  The Government will also see to it that sufficient resources will be allocated to implement the scheme, rendering professional downstream support services to those students in need."

     Other than drug testing, Mr Lee said the Government would also step up efforts to tackle the youth drug abuse problem by mobilising the society, community support, treatment and law enforcement.

     As regards the situation in the North District, the Police and Customs and Excise Department have strengthened their law enforcement operations at border control points to tackle cross-boundary drug trafficking activities.  They have also stepped up publicity on the dire consequences of abusing psychotropic substances, targeting young cross-boundary travellers and their parents.

     Mr Lee thanked the North District Fight Crime Committee for organising various activities to promote anti-drug messages to the public and youth.

Ends/Friday, October 23, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:01