Commissioner for Narcotics visits Government Laboratory (with photos/video)

     The Commissioner for Narcotics, Ms Sally Wong, today (December 30) visited the Government Laboratory (GL) to learn more about the progress of research and development in hair drug testing technology, and confirmatory urine test services provided in support of the Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing in Tai Po.

     Ms Wong was first briefed by GL officers on their work of testing common drugs in Hong Kong.  From January to November this year, the GL dealt with about 6,800 drug cases and examined about 17,000 drug samples. The drug types involved in these cases were mainly ketamine, heroin, cocaine, ice, cannabis and ecstasy.

     Ms Wong was shown the instruments for hair and urine testing, as well as some hair samples with pre-treatment.

     The GL successfully developed the hair drug testing method which was accredited by the Hong Kong Accreditation Service for complying with the international standard of ISO 17025.  

     To arouse the interests of local laboratories to develop or introduce hair drug testing services from overseas, the GL is planning to organise talks and workshops to share the technology with the industry with a view to enhancing their testing abilities and assisting them to obtain the relevant accreditation.

     "I am glad to know GL's research and development of hair drug testing work has started to yield results.  The Government is gearing up for the preparatory work, hoping that a pilot service can be introduced in 2010.  The related technologies will be transferred to the industry, so that hair testing services can be developed locally," Ms Wong said.

     On an announcement made by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on the development of the new hair drug testing technologies, Ms Wong said, "The Government has an open mind on various hair drug testing technologies. We will consider any feasible, internationally accredited and cost-effective methods."

     "We welcome and encourage interested institutions to conduct research on hair drug testing and obtain accreditation of the method, develop and provide hair testing services of international standards."

     Ms Wong was also briefed on the measures to protect the privacy of students participating in the Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing and was very pleased with GL's efforts.  She said, "Urine samples submitted by the Student Drug Testing Team to the GL would only carry a code of the student. The laboratory would not have any information which could identify an individual. The entire handling procedure, including the collection, storage, and disposal of samples, was very strict, appropriate and clearly documented."

     Ms Wong was very appreciative of the support given by GL in the anti-drug cause. The laboratory had provided high quality, effective, comprehensive and professional services.  In particular, in the research and development of hair drug testing, GL was capable of providing testing services of international standards.

Ends/Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:42