This from the UKCIA website (www.ukcia.org): UK: Drug test kits used in schools Dan McMullen Manchester Evening News Wednesday 16 Aug 2006 --- SCHOOLS in Greater Manchester are to screen their buildings for traces of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, heroin and LSD as part of a drive to stamp out drug use among pupils. Two schools in Oldham - which the M.E.N. has chosen not to identify - have already ordered £195 swab-testing kits that can detect the residue left behind by the drugs on walls, desks and toilets. There are also visits planned from sniffer dogs. A third school in Oldham is considering use of the tests, as well as dogs. Detection The schools stress that the tests are designed to form part of a drug education and detection policy and are not in response to particular drug problems. The schools are not looking to test individual pupils but will concentrate on public locations and fixtures and fixings across the school. A teacher from one of the schools said: "The reason we have ordered the kit is because we spend a lot of time talking about drug issues at school and we want to be seen to be doing something about it. "There are obviously concerns from our point of view as some people may think we have a drug problem, but we don't. What we want is to be seen to be taking a sensible approach to drugs and drug education. "There is always a risk where large groups of youngsters are brought together but we wish to look at the issue in a non-sensational way. "The dogs will be brought in and used for educational and teaching purposes with the pupils and I think when they have seen what they can do that in itself will act as a deterrent. There are no plans for random dog sweeps at this stage. "The test kits will be used for intelligence-gathering and they will be kept on standby in the school in case of any suspected drug-related incidents. "We will not be using them every week to test walls and cloakrooms though if we feel we can use them to gather information they may well be used in this way from time to time. "The kits are a great way of detecting use in school and reassuring both parents and pupils that we have a proactive policy." The kits, each capable of carrying out 100 tests, are being provided by Saddleworth-based Crackdown Drug Testing, who work with Greater Manchester Police on drugs initiatives and who supply drug testing kits to Category A jails. Range The kits can detect the full range of drugs and are used to swab secluded areas where cannabis joints may be rolled, or toilet seats and flat surfaces where cocaine and amphetamines may be cut into lines and snorted. Dave Rigg, managing director of Crackdown Drug Testing and an ex-policeman with 17 years' experience, said: "The kits have an aerosol and 100 paper wipes. You wipe the paper on the suspected surface, then spray it with the aerosol. If drugs are present it will change colour. "It is the first time such methods will have been used in Greater Manchester. "Oldham is no worse than anywhere else. By using these kits it will provide an intelligence-led response as to whether or not drugs are being used, the type of drugs being used and what can be done to tackle the issue. "It will also allow youngsters a chance to avoid peer pressure and say no if they are offered anything illegal." Several other schools in Greater Manchester have already used sniffer dogs in response to concerns about drug use on the premises but this is thought to be the first use of test kits. Sympathetic Oldham council spokesman Nick Hudson said: "If individual schools decide that it is in the best interests of their pupils to introduce some form of drug testing then, providing the decision is agreed by the school's governing body and it is introduced sympathetically, the authority will support this decision." A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "We are obviously aware that drugs do find their way into schools but Oldham schools are no worse than any others in the area."