Ministers reject offender drug tests

The idea of mandatory drug testing for all offenders when they arrive and leave prisons in England and Wales has been rejected by the Home Office. The proposal was suggested by the Commons home affairs committee in December in a report on drugs policy. In it, the committee highlighted a system of drugs de-criminalisation pioneered in Portugal. The Home Office said compulsory testing would be an "additional" funding burden. It also said it would lead prisoners to avoid a positive test by staying off drugs for the testing period only. Official figures show that drug use in England and Wales is at its lowest rate under current measurements since 1996.