December launch for trial scheme on school drug testing

     The Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing in Tai Po District would be launched later this month (December), the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau and the Education Bureau announced today (December 7). The purposes of the scheme are to enhance the resolve of students who have not taken drugs to continue to stay away from drugs, and to  motivate students abusing drugs to quit drugs and seek help. Appropriate professional support will be provided to help them kick the habit early.

     "The Government attaches great importance to the privacy of students joining the scheme, and 'keeping personal information confidential' is one of the guiding principles of the scheme. To protect the privacy of students and accommodate the wishes of the schools, we will not arrange for the media to cover drug testing of students at schools. We would like to appeal to all media organisations to respect the privacy of students and not to doorstep secondary school students, teaching staff and the Student Drug Testing Team in Tai Po for news stories. We will provide a progress update and overall statistics on drug testing at a suitable time," a Government spokesman said.

     The 23 secondary schools in Tai Po District last month issued the standard form of Consent to Participation to their students. As of this morning (December 7), 20,332 consent forms had been returned, of which 12,387 indicated consent to join the scheme, representing 61% of the returned forms.

     The Government welcomed the positive response from over 12,000 students and their parents who had together given their consent to take part in the scheme, which was conducive to the forging of a drug-free campus culture.

     "We welcome those who have not yet joined the scheme to join at any time. Students and parents who still have questions are welcome to call 186 186 or visit the website of the Narcotics Division, Security Bureau (," the spokesman added.

     "To evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme, the Government will commission a research organisation, in parallel with the implementation of the scheme, to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the design, execution procedure and effectiveness of the scheme, research other local and overseas experiences in school drug testing and suggest appropriate refinements and revision to the scheme and a possible approach for the gradual rolling out to all schools in the territory. At this stage, the Government has no definite plan or timetable to extend the scheme to more schools. The Government will study the report by the research organisation and decide the way forward," he said.

Ends/Monday, December 7, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:30