Egypt Introduces New Drug Testing Policy
In early May 2019, over 550 state employees in Egypt were referred to the Egyptian public prosecution office after being forced to take a drug test under a new law.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity announced on May 5th that 15,877 state employees had recently been drug tested, and that 555 had been referred to the Administrative Prosecution Authority (APA) for testing positive for illegal drugs.
The sudden crackdown on drug users follows the government in Egypt approving a bill in March that authorised the required drug testing of all state employees from ministerial to the local level. Alongside members of the civil service, employees working for public transportation, hospitals, and other state-run institutions must also be drug tested. Anyone who refuses to be drug tested will have their employment terminated.
The new law was brought in with explicit support from Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, following a deadly train crash in Cairo after which the train driver tested positive for drug use.
Egyptian law does not specify the punishment for someone who tests positive for drug use, but the director of Egypt’s Fund for Drug Control and Treatment – Amr Osman – has warned that any state bus or rail drivers testing positive for drug use face imprisonment for at least two years, and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($582).
University students and employees will also be subject to mandatory drug testing, the education minister has announced. In this case, people who test positive will be offered “treatment” and will be sacked or expelled from the university if they refuse to comply.
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Scotland is set to introduce a new “zero tolerance” policy to those caught driving under the influence of drugs. Ministers in Scotland want to make it easier for police officers to target people driving with illegal drugs in their bloodstream. The policy will supersede the current need to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner as a result of drug consumption. The law in Scotland currently states that it is illegal to drive if impaired by drugs, be it prescription or illegal drugs.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said “The introduction of drug driving limits will strengthen the power of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to tackle the minority of drivers who irresponsibly put themselves and other road-users at risk. Drug driving is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent the avoidable deaths and damage caused by those who drive under the influence of drugs. Together with our stringent drink-driving limits, these new laws will ensure that Scotland have the UK’s most robust laws against impaired and unsafe driving.”
Under the new plan, eight of the most commonly abuse illegal drugs – including heroin, ketamine and ecstasy – will have limits set very close to zero to rule out claims of accidental exposure. A further eight drugs, which can have medicinal purposes – such as diazepam and methadone – will have higher limits based on their ability to impair drivers. These proposals would mean just having drugs in your system that breach the limits, this is sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA, has been utilised as a screening tool for some time. The immunoassay technique is a popular choice for the evaluation of various research and diagnostic targets including drugs of abuse testing.
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