Hungary Lawmakers Support Mandatory Drug Testing of Children
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Hungary’s governing Fidesz party announced on Monday their support for a proposal that would require annual drug testing of children between ages 12 to 18.
The initial proposal made last week by Fidesz communications director Mate Kocsis proposed testing politicians and journalists—the nation’s decision-makers and the people who shape public opinion, as Kocsis put it—as well. But legal consultations are needed to determine if those groups can be included, said head of the Fidesz parliamentary group Antal Rogan.
The Fidesz party, which has a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, agreed to support Kocsis’ initiative with “strong adjustments,” but believe it would protect children and fight drug trafficking and organized crime, said Rogan.
Under the plan, the drug test results would be revealed only to parents, and testing positive would have no legal consequences for minors.
Opponents of the bill note that alcohol is a greater issue in the country. “Compared to alcohol, the risk to national health of drug use is insignificant,” toxicologist Gabor Zacher told InfoRadio. According to Zacher, in a population of 9.8 million, there are an estimated 800,000 alcoholics and 20,000 drug addicts. There are 30,000 alcohol-related deaths a year and around two dozen drug-related deaths, Zacher added.
In protest of Kocsis’ proposal, youth members of the left wing opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) party filled little jars with urine and took them to Budapest’s 8th district council offices, where Kocsis, who is a district mayor in Budapest, works.
Outside of the council building, Young Democrats leader Bendeguz Koppany Szarvas accused the mayor of seeing all young people as drug addicts, and told reporters that Kocsis should have “nothing to do with our private lives whatsoever.”
A draft of the bill is expected to be debated in parliament in February, and is to be discussed with experts, teachers, and parent associations.