Government's response to the development of hair drug testing technologies

     In response to media enquiries on the development of hair drug testing technologies by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), a Government spokesman today (December 16) gives the following reply:

     "The Chief Executive in this year's Policy Address is committed to making available another effective drug-testing tool.  The Government Laboratory will take the lead in bringing in hair drug testing with a view to transferring the technology to the industry.

     The Government has an open mind on various hair drug testing technologies.  We will consider any feasible, internationally accredited and cost effective methods. The HKUST earlier contacted Government representatives in mid November to introduce their research study.  The Government welcomes the related research and development and will look into it in detail.  We will compare the cost, degree of accuracy, sensitivity etc, and provide reference for the industry.

     The existing trial scheme on school drug testing in Tai Po District has commenced in December as scheduled.  As stated in the Protocol and the series of briefing sessions, urine testing, rather than hair drug testing, is being adopted in the trial scheme.

     It is too early to say at this stage whether hair drug testing will be used in school drug testing or compulsory drug testing in the future.  The Government has yet to make a decision.  The research which will be conducted in parallel with the implementation of the trial scheme will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the design, execution procedure and effectiveness of the scheme, and research relevant issues (including the feasibility of other drug testing methods etc.) and other local and overseas experiences in school drug testing.  The research will also suggest appropriate refinements and how the scheme can be rolled out on a wider basis.  We will consider the recommendations of the research report in detail before making any decisions.  The Government will announce the testing mode and details of hair drug testing at a suitable time."

Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Issued at HKT 20:00