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Public calls for health professionals to be drug-tested

17 November 2008

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An overwhelming majority of people in the UK want doctors to undergo regular drug tests, according to a survey.

The number of people who believe that key workers, including GPs, teachers and police officers, should face testing has grown massively in recent years, researchers found.

Of just over 1,000 people polled, 46% thought teachers should face testing six years ago, compared with 68% today, and the trend held for doctors, nurses, pilots and drivers.

The toughening of attitudes towards drugs in the UK was evident in other responses.

The proportion of people who believe the drug laws are too liberal rose from a quarter in 2002 to almost a third today (32%), according to the ICM research published in the Observer newspaper.

The number of people who said that the legislation is not liberal enough fell from 30% to 18%, while support for decriminalising certain drugs dropped from 38% to 27%.

A huge proportion (70%) said that all dealers should be treated alike and the law should not discriminate between those who sell drugs and those who supply them without turning a profit, perhaps to friends.

Almost as many (63%) wanted addicts caught in possession of drugs to be jailed.

But cannabis, which 17% saw as the least harmful illegal drug obtainable, was seen as less damaging than alcohol (47%) or tobacco (23%), both legal substances.

Copyright © Press Association 2008


Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“Please use common sense, sense there is but it’s not common. Another waste of time, test for mental illness? Of course you cannot, people have first to ask for help. There are those areas  that require people’s cooperation, and help when it”s asked for” – Carl Curtis, Southwark

“1,000 people are hardly representative of the whole of the population. Such a small sample size is prone to so many biases and large errors that the results are worthless. So why do we put up with these surveys? After all it is these and the media which prints them that Gordon Brown designs his policies from” – Chris, Dawlish

“Impairment seems to be the order of the day, and statistically we are all on drugs, legal or illegal isn’t the issue, the issue is can you still be compus mentis, then tests on impairment, not the drug use, is the important factor surely? However, who  tests the judges?” – Winston Matthews, Surrey