Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Trial scheme on School Drug Testing in Tai Po going well

     The Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing in Tai Po District launched last December is running smoothly.

     By the end of January, the Student Drug Testing Team had visited all 23 public sector secondary schools in Tai Po district participating in the scheme. A total of 313 students were randomly selected for the screening test. Of them, 264 students took the test and no positive confirmed case was found.  

     Nine students could not provide an instant urine specimen for the test. Another 38 students were assessed by the nurse of the testing team as not suitable for the test in view of their physical condition or having taken medicine.  These students together with those who have taken the test will remain on the list subject to future random selection, just like other participating students.

     Two students refused to take the test and the school contacted their parents. Since the scheme is voluntary, the two students and their parents chose to withdraw from the scheme.

     Until the end of January, one false-positive case was found. In accordance with the protocol, the specimen was sent to the Government Laboratory for confirmatory testing and a negative result was obtained. The concerned student and parents were informed immediately of the result and they understood the situation.

     A Government spokesman said today (February 4), "With the support of parents, schools, teaching staff and students, the scheme is going well under the four guiding principles.  Personal information has been kept strictly confidential and professional testing and support services have been given to students.  Since the collection of the 'consent form' in early December, about 50 more students and their parents have joined the scheme. The participation of students has delivered the positive message of staying away from drugs.

     "As the scheme is an innovative attempt done on a trial basis, participation is entirely voluntary.  The positive response from more than 12,000 students and their parents together giving their consent to join the scheme is conducive to the forging of a drug-free campus culture.

     "We welcome those students and parents who have not yet joined the scheme to join in anytime. The professional testing team will continue to visit the schools participating in the scheme on an irregular basis and conduct screening tests for randomly selected students until June this year."

     According to social workers of the Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service Cheer Lutheran Centre, since the announcement of the scheme, there has been a rising trend of cases seeking assistance.  The rise may be attributable to the positive effect of publicity, education and the drug testing scheme.

     "The experience gained and feedback collected in this scheme will provide useful empirical data to facilitate research to be conducted in parallel and strategic planning of anti-drug activities in the future," the Government spokesman said.

     "An experienced research organisation has been commissioned to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the design, execution procedure and effectiveness of the scheme, research into 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 other 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 then decide on the way forward," he said.

     The spokesman said the school drug testing scheme was not the only way to tackle the problem of youth drug abuse. The Government was dedicating all its efforts to implement a comprehensive set of strengthened anti-drug strategies covering preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, legislation and law enforcement, external co-operation and research, combatting drug abuse under a "five-pronged" strategy.

     In addition, the Government was fostering within the community a culture of care for young people and mobilising various sectors in society to support young people's healthy growth so that they will stay away from drugs.

Ends/Thursday, February 4, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:47


Print this page