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Government goes ahead with drug tests for kids

TT/The Local · 15 Mar 2010, 13:57

Published: 15 Mar 2010 13:57 GMT+01:00

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"Early intervention against young abusers is absolutely crucial," said Beatrice Ask, Sweden's justice minister.

In a previous ruling, the council weighed the invasion of personal integrity occasioned by the supervised collection of a urine sample against the benefits of a child getting help to counter their drug use, and concluded that the invasion of personal integrity was disproportionate.

Ask argued however for the importance of timely intervention regarding drug use and underlined that several of the bodies in the referral process supported the government's stance.

The government's legislative proposal also provides for the tests to be conducted without the consent of the children's parents.

"It is not always that straightforward to find the parents or to gain their permission and I think that it is important to be able to check if there is misuse."

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As an example, Ask said the forced test measure could be used if a child were to be found in a dope den.

The Council on Legislation also warned that a forced urine test could be used by police as a form of punishment. This criticism is rejected by Ask who argues that the police have better things to do than to harass youngsters.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:07 March 15, 2010 by dobermann
This is the best new I have ever heard.

These kind of tests should be required for every teenager and adult every year. And all those idiots from human rights and other organisations should shut up. It is pointless to spend millions of tax payers money to investigate drug crimes if people can use drugs without any problems. The one woul think twise before using drugs if he will know, that he will be tested soon..
16:00 March 15, 2010 by calebian22
Agreed, dobermann. Since healthcare is socialized in Sweden this is a good thing. Earlier treatment is cheaper than lingering, reoccuring and often ineffective drub rehab later.
16:05 March 15, 2010 by jose_s
but why stop at 15?
16:33 March 15, 2010 by wotist

It does stop at 15 right now, that's what this proposed legal change is about. Persons above the age of 15 can be forced to submit to drug tests under current legislation, persons below, on the other hand, can not be forced to submit to drug tests unless this proposed change goes through.
17:12 March 15, 2010 by krrodman
Will someone clear up some details for me. Does the government plan mass screening of adolescents, or only adolescents that appear under the influence?

Mass screening will miss many users. Cocaine and its metabolites are present in the urine for less than 24 hours, and some narcotics are difficult to detect as well. Marijuana is easier to detect. Are they looking for any one drug in particular?
18:30 March 15, 2010 by anticommie
Now there is freedom for you, everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
18:38 March 15, 2010 by wotist
The proposed law will, if it passes, enable a prosecutor order a drug test for someone under the age of 15 prior to getting the permission of social services, under the same circumstances that a prosecutor can currently order a drug test on someone aged 15 and above.
18:41 March 15, 2010 by proteasome
"Early intervention against young abusers is absolutely crucial," Beatrice Ask

OR more to the point

Early abuse of your freedoms is crucial for intervention of your innocence.

Can any police officer at anytime require a drug screen as often as they want? Do they first need a courts approval? Is probable cause required or can it be random large screenings? Random police screening of childrens urine sounds worse than the incredibly small drug problem Sweden currently has. Should be testing divorced 40 year old women for red box wine consumption on the weekend if you want a real problem. Whats the odds that the police hassle the poor emigrant youths on a weekend versus the kids in Djursholm?
18:51 March 15, 2010 by sherkovic
look at the title..and look at the picture. Oh cmon The Local! Stop freaking us out!!
18:52 March 15, 2010 by Nemesis
Screening of school kids for drugs is necessary.

It is a horrible idea and does make me uncomfortable, but I do believe it is necessary.

Talk to any of your friends kids and they will tell you that drugs such as cannabis and speed are common amongst some of the teens.

The problem is the problem is real, so has to be faced up to. Drug testing is part of facing up to that problem and not ignoring it until it explodes.
19:00 March 15, 2010 by tillerman
ASK says the police have better things to do than to harass youngsters. Since when?
19:07 March 15, 2010 by ChomskyReader
I don't do drugs nor do I agree with its use, however I have studied marijuana use professionally for 15 years and I for one don't think people should get their heads in a twist about this one.

There are types that are altered known as skunk or hydro depending on where you are from which are potent and people should in my opinion stay away from, natural weed grown without alteration has never be known to kill anyone, in some case it helps people with simple things like helping to dry out a chest wet cough, cigarettes and alcohol kill more people yearly.

I read a quote once "God put it on the earth for us to use and we found a use for it". If those who control alcohol and cigarettes could control marijuana in the same way, I believe it would be legal, however they cannot see how they can make money as they do with the other two poisons, so its is said to be illegal.
19:32 March 15, 2010 by Lostaussie
Make a number of drugs legal and put the crooks out of business. Testing kids below the age of 15 is stupid, most will try it and a few will become addicted, same as alcohol and and smokes. The nanny state and the do-gooders strike again.
19:53 March 15, 2010 by rybo1
Personally, I think it sucks. Another infringement on personal integrity.
20:01 March 15, 2010 by Luke R D
....another piece of personal freedom eaten away. You fools complaining about drugs in society need to truly wake up. This is not about drugs, this is about personal freedom, or rather it's removal - bit by bit, then, when everyone wakes up and it's too late, we'll be asking ourselves, "What freedoms?". Chomsky reader has nailed this argument, man. At least someone's thinking.
20:32 March 15, 2010 by Kevin Harris
The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is an ancient right, and a necessary one in any society that may describe itself as civilised. This is a very sad day for all those who have fought for the rights of man over many centuries, and all those that cherish them today.
20:58 March 15, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Spot on lostaussie...the state needs to start these kids young. Gotta get them used to having their lives intruded on. Big Brother is watching! What we really need are more cameras.
21:31 March 15, 2010 by CanadianEh
A political professor once told me that in a ''Dictatorship'' if they want to kill you, they do it swiftly, in a ''Democracy'' they kill you slowly.

In other words let the next generation understand that freedom is just a suggestion and that Big Brother is watching no matter who you are.
21:44 March 15, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
Certain clauses of "Sharia law" dubbed as "Viking law or some other suitable name" is needed to tackle this menace of drug mafia.
23:45 March 15, 2010 by Greg in Canada
Big Brother, Swedish style. This would not fly in North America. It would be regarded as an invasion of privacy or a rights violation. Put my vote against the idea. What will government be doing next - monitoring all emails and phone calls?
01:05 March 16, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
"Police have better things to do than harass youngsters"

Swedish police ALREADY use their ability to drug test anyone as a punishment.

This story is so sickening.
03:25 March 16, 2010 by Davey-jo
A "forced urine test"? are they taking the p**s? This is a gross violation of just about every rule of law. You are talking about gathering evidence by force and without consent from minors? Where do you stop? Have you no shame?
07:20 March 16, 2010 by johnnyrebel
While doing the urine test might as well swab for a little DNA.
07:35 March 16, 2010 by peropaco
Beatrice Ask should be the poster crow for birth control. I can only imagine this will lead to heaps of racial profiling. Welcome to the police state......The Germans back in the days used to randomly stop guys with dark hair and pull down their pants to check if they were circumcised.
07:53 March 16, 2010 by proteasome
If we make an assumption that drug testing is right 99.5% of the time, and 1 out of 400 young kids have a serious drug problem in Sweden, then if you do the math, to nab one problem case you will be accusing two innocent kids of a problem they do not have. This is a general problem when you do large random screenings where even a very accurate test has problems finding rare positives.
08:46 March 16, 2010 by Kronaboy
So will the police be testing for dangerous substances which kill millions of people each year, i.e. alcohol and tobacco?
09:30 March 16, 2010 by Puffin
We have also seen recently the police abusing the power to stop and drug test people over the age of 25 - such as the recent case where police officers threatened to forcibly drug test a blogger who was filming their actions in an underground station.

So what legal safeguards are there for the under 15s now that neither parents or social services need to be consulted?

There are already powers for social services to intervene in suspected drug use case under the law LVU - so why are these draconian police powers needed?
09:35 March 16, 2010 by pintoflex
You wouldn't have to go through all this hustle if all new born kids would have gotten a barcode and a chip monitoring their inner activities.

While you're at it - if a child is found with any level of an illegal substance in his body, he should get a voucher to system bolaget as an incentive to stop drug use and get on the national (tax paying) bandwagon!
11:56 March 16, 2010 by judoflares
another infringement on our freedom, but thats ok we can still go to system bolaget get a bottle of branvin, buy a gun and fire it while getting cancer smoking a cigerette. If a drug is taxable it's no longer a drug.

I'm more frightened of dangerous dogs such a Dobermans than I am of drug addicts. they usually keep themselves to themselves
13:06 March 16, 2010 by thechamp
FASCISTS, this is disgusting! only more reason to hate the way the current government thinks. Judoflares: agreed! The government thinks that a join will kill a 16 year old, well the legal dosage of vodka that 16 year old's dad drinks is enough to sink a small boat and beat his wife and kids, disgusting!

This is an infringement on youths rights! Why don't they instill corporal punishment! this is just disgusting and I hope it gets repealed! Sweden has NO drug problem, but with alcohol maybe a bit and that is legal.

14:41 March 16, 2010 by sissygirl
How do you test for alcohol? Perhaps a program to teach little kids that "alcohol is bad" would be better. If anything they might be much older before trying it.
15:28 March 16, 2010 by Tommysixtoes
This is ridiculous, just wanted to add my voice to the others. You will never see any underage kids being tested for alchohol and tobacco use. Completely stupid law.

Kids will be ratting on their "friends" as a consequence of this I'm sure.
16:13 March 16, 2010 by sissygirl
Oh yeah, the Local reallllly needs to get rid of that awful picture
16:58 March 16, 2010 by RobinHood
This is what happens when you make appoint a political hack, with no legal training, as a justice minister. They ignorantly sweep aside well-founded legal rights with legislation designed to impress hairdressers. Beatrice's mother was a hairdresser, Beatrice likes to test the popularity of her legislation by asking her mother what she thinks. I am sure they were all very pleased with this one at the salon.
08:26 March 17, 2010 by Rebel
Yes, this is a grand idea. You can invade the privacy and dignity of youth who are just a little bit different (too loud, too shy, Goth, rockers, etc.) and you just might find a few who use drugs. I guess the benefits outweigh the invasion of privacy.

Now while we are at it, do you realize how safe would we be if, at the airport, we require everyone, upon checking in, to remove all their clothing, send all items through inspection, and only give people the right to put their clothes back on once they get to their designated terminal? No suicide bombers could get through nor could anyone hide weapons. I think this makes even more sense than drug tests for kids.
20:04 March 17, 2010 by foreverblue
Never forget that marijuana prohibition is a scandal.

On many accounts it is the most beneficial single plant on earth (cannabis as a medicine / hemp as a material).

There is a reason it is kept out of your hands.

Now go smoke your cigarettes, drink your booze and pop your pills.
08:02 March 20, 2010 by munched
Beatrice Ask is a horses ass. The police, while indeed having better things to do than harrass kids, find harrassing kids easier and more ego satisfying than any proper police work. They can already today threaten any adult to take a drug test merely by lookijng into their eyes and saying, "I think you're on drugs."
08:56 January 12, 2011 by JohnDMoore3000
I think pass a drug test an important thing, it can be one more of aspects of struggle against a narcotism and distribution, such checks are necessary for spending at all enterprises of small and big business
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