This from the BBC News website:
Drug test kits for Milan parents
By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Rome
Milan's local council has given 4,000 families free doping kits to test their children for drugs.
The kits have been handed to parents of children aged between 13 and 16 as part of a new initiative to tackle a rise in drug use among young Italians.
A 2002 study in Milan's home region of Lombardy found nearly half of all teenagers had experimented with drugs.
The kit will show up a trace of cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine or opiates in a urine sample.
Letters offering free drug test kits will be arriving in letterboxes over the course of the next few days.
Rise in cocaine
The offer is aimed at parents of 13- to 16-year-old children, the group considered most at risk in Italy from a worrying rise in cocaine use.
The drugs kit idea is that of the right-wing National Alliance party.
Their representative, local Health Minister Carla De Albertis, said she recently tested her children and now she wants to give other parents the same opportunity.
"I want to return the family to its role - I mean education, prevention, control," she said.
"We want the families to speak with their children about drugs. I'm not turning parents into policemen. It's a free opportunity, the family should know."
According to recent figures from the interior ministry, cocaine use in Italy has almost doubled since 1995, with average prices falling as low as 30 euros a gram in some cities.
It is no longer the drug of the wealthy elite with students and teenagers are becoming habitual users.
Some mothers said they were concerned about drug use and would take up the offer of a free testing kit.
"Cannabis is everywhere these days," said Rosella Brimbola, a mother of two.
"But if I went searching through my daughter's letters or through her personal things then I'd lose her trust. This is a test we can do together and if there is a problem then we can resolve it together."
But there has been some harsh criticism from politicians on the centre-left.
Local councillor Marilena Adamo said getting parents to spy on their children is not the answer. But the National Alliance are encouraging councillors to try the test for themselves. So far, it has only been offered to parents in one area of the city, but if it is successful and can be funded, the party say they would like to extend this programme across the city.
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