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Legal council says no to drug tests for kids

Published: 05 Mar 2010 08:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Mar 2010 08:12 GMT+01:00

Sweden's Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) has ruled against a government legislative proposal to allow drug tests on children below the age of 15.

The Local reported in February that the government had presented a raft of proposals aimed at tackling youth crime.

One of the proposals was for drug tests to be permitted for under-15s without the consent of their parents. The proposal was argued to help in detecting drug abuse in time so that the child can be given help. The drug tests were to be conducted by collecting a urine sample under supervision.

But the council has now recommended the rejection of the proposal to allow the drug tests, according to the Riksdag & Department newspaper.

The council has weighed the invasion of personal integrity occasioned by the supervised collection of a urine sample with the benefits of a child getting help to counter their drug use. The council's conclusion is that the invasion of personal integrity is disproportionate.

The government also proposed an extension of police investigations of offences committed by the under-15s in order to give the social services a larger body of material to work with when allocating resources to help the child.

The council has expressed concern that the extension of police powers could be the first step to a lowering of the age of legal consent (currently 15-years-old), Riksdag & Departement reports.

News agency TT has sought Sweden's justice minister, Beatrice Ask, for a comment but has not been able to get in touch with her.

The Council on Legislation forms part of the legislative consultation process and the government must motivate any decision not to consult the council on new legislation. The body is mainly composed of judges drawn from the Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) and Supreme Administrative Court (Kammarrätten).

The council's role is to pronounce on the legal validity of legislative proposals at the request of the Government or a parliamentary standing committee - a so-called judicial preview. While less established within the Swedish legal system, the council can also perform abstract legal reviews.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:01 March 5, 2010 by Frobobbles
The council seems to believe that the invasion of privacy disappear as soon as the parents decide that their child should do a drug test. I think they are just plain wrong, and that the police would make better decisions.
18:22 March 5, 2010 by Puffin
@ froboobles

What do you mean the police???? This proposal had nothing to do with drug crime - of course the police have the powers to drug test where they suspect crime - and schools currently have the powers to bring in social services and order drug test where it is suspected that they may be abusing drugs.

However what this was about was how far schools can go in forcing random testing on childre who are NOT suspected of abusing drugs.
09:30 March 6, 2010 by Kevin Harris
There should be a presumption of innocence for any child, or adult. If there is no evidence that a person has broken the law, then he or she should be free to go about his/her business without interference from the state. I think the English have something about that in the Magna Carta, one of the founding documents on this issue.
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