Hungary mayor wants drug tests for 12-18 year olds

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2014 2:50 PM

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — 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.

Mate Kocsis said the test, which he also would be required to undergo, would be aimed at "those most at risk, decision-makers and opinion-formers."

"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 his Facebook page late Friday. He was unavailable for comment on Saturday.

Kocsis is also the communications director of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party. Fidesz spokesman Bence Tuzson said the proposal will be discussed Monday by the party's parliamentary group.

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

Kocsis, the 33-year-old mayor of Budapest's 8th district, was behind an initiative which 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 infectious diseases like hepatitis C.

In September, Laszlo Szekely, Hungary's Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, called on Kocsis to find a compromise solution, saying the needle-exchange program was "a service of proven efficiency" in line with the 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 rough.