Mon, Dec 08, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Hungarian mayor wants drug tests for teenagers

DISTRICT DISCIPLINE?The official — who also serves as communications director for the ruling party — earlier blocked a needle-exchange program

AP, BUDAPEST

The mayor of a Budapest district wants to introduce mandatory annual drug tests for children between the ages of 12 and 18, as well as for elected politicians and journalists.

Eighth District Mayor Mate Kocsis said the test — which he also would be required to undergo — would be aimed at “those most at risk, decisionmakers and opinion-formers.”

‘ANTIDRUG POLICIES’

“I am often astounded to read that numerous ‘experts’ talk about drug policies, when there are many of us who would instead like to hear about antidrug policies,” Kocsis said in a statement first published on Facebook late on Friday.

He was unavailable for comment on Saturday.

Kocsis is also the communications director of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz Party. Party spokesman Bence Tuzson said the proposal would be discussed today by the party’s parliamentary group.

MAJORITY RULES

Fidesz has had a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament since 2010, allowing it to pass laws at will and without consultation, sometimes within a few days of the initial proposal.

Kocsis, 33, was behind an initiative that in August led to the termination of a free needle-exchange program for intravenous drug users. The program was meant to curb the spread of the HIV and diseases like hepatitis C.

RESISTANCE

In September, Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Laszlo Szekely called on Kocsis to find a compromise solution, saying the needle-exchange program was “a service of proven efficiency” in line with Hungary’s National Antidrug Strategy.

Since becoming mayor in 2010, Kocsis has also introduced measures banning waste-picking and fines or jail time for homeless people caught sleeping outside.

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