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Publié le 11/03/08 13:54 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00
Following a suggestion from the Celtic League that the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) may be gerrymandering statistics covering drug abuse in their armed forces the MOD are to rethink the nature of the information they make public.
The MOD refute suggestions that they are down-playing the significance of the military drug problem saying they «take compulsory drug testing very seriously». However they explain why statistics published show an apparent decline in testing and say (see below) as a result of the Leagues correspondence to Defence Minister, Des Browne MP, they «will investigate publishing the actual number of tests undertaken on our website in addition to the number of individuals tested».
«DRUG TESTING IN THE ARMED FORCES
Thank you for your letter of 10 February 2008 to the Secretary of State for Defence concerning the number of British military personnel who undergo compulsory drug testing. I have been asked to reply.
I can advise you that all 3 Services take compulsory drug testing very seriously. The purpose of our compulsory drug testing is to act as a deterrent. One of the key purposes is not to catch as many drug users as possible, but rather to deter as many personnel as possible from using drugs. The numbers of individuals tested and the numbers of tests carried out are different; the figures you quote in your letter from our Freedom of Information website are the numbers of individuals tested, not the actual number of tests done by the Department which is much higher. The reason for this is that the same individual may be tested more than once during a year. For example, in the Army, personnel under 25 are tested on average 1.4 times a year. As a result of your letter, we will investigate publishing the actual number of tests undertaken on our website in addition to the number of individuals tested.
The 3 Services also take great care to ensure that the pattern of testing is targeted to make the best effect of the testing. More frequent testing of units is enhancing the deterrent effect, with the balance of testing in the Army moving towards the early part of the week to catch those individuals who misused drugs at weekends whilst still traceable.
In conclusion, you may wish to know that the Ministry of Defence conducts Europe's largest compulsory drug testing programme. The programme has been praised by the Government's Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator.
I hope this gives you the information that you required.»
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J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League