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Government goes ahead with drug tests for kids

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Government goes ahead with drug tests for kids
Justice Minister Beatrice Ask
13:57 CET+01:00
The Swedish government has ignored the advice of Sweden's Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) and proposed the introduction of drug tests on children below the age of 15.

"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."

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.

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