Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Mayor looking to install drug-testing urinals at schools

By Huang Mei-chu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hsinchu County’s Jhubei Township (竹北) is mulling the installation of electronic drug detection urinals in four elementary schools to test the system for possible further implementation across the county.

According to Jhubei Mayor Ho Kan-ming (何凎銘), the system is intended to counter drug use in schools across the county.

Ho said he had attempted to push through plans to conduct general urine testing for junior-high school students when he served as Hsinchu County councilor from 2010 to 2014, along with United Microelectronics Corp chairman John Hsuan (宣明智), but abandoned the plan as it proved to be too controversial.

Ho said the electronic system would use a microchip developed by professors Lee Chen-yi (李鎮宜) and Lai Yi-tse (賴義澤) that can be programmed to detect ketamine, amphetamine and heroin in urine.

Once urinals with the built-in chips detect traces of drugs, the system transmits the data to the closest server, which would then upload the information to a cloud server, Ho said.

“Police accessing the cloud data could see which schools tested positive to drugs in urine and could then access footage from nearby surveillance cameras to pinpoint likely suspects,” Ho said.

Ho wants to test the system in Fongtian Elementary School, Mayuan Elementary School, Singang Elementary School, Fonggang Elementary School and Fonggang Junior High school.

The system is targeting students from fifth grade upwards throughout all three junior high-school grades, Ho said, adding that it would not be implemented until the schools, its parent unions and parents’ consent had been obtained.

The city government hoped to establish a 200-member group at the Fongtian and Fonggang police stations, hopefully including the deans, department heads, school faculty, police officers and volunteers by the middle of this month to provide help for youths with disadvantaged families, Ho said.

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