Russia’s Medvedev calls for drug testing in schools


IRKUTSK – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday called for drug testing in schools, warning that narcotics abuse was now such a major problem that it was weighing down the economy. Speaking at a government meeting in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, identified by officials as a particular trouble spot for abuse, Medvedev said that no fewer than 2.5 million Russians were drug addicts. The president said the problem was costing Russia between two and three percent of the gross domestic product and that the country may have no option but to resort to drug testing in schools.
Medvedev, who is usually regarded as one of the more liberal of Russian leaders, said that testing may need to be put into law at a later stage. “Unfortunately, the situation is such that we will have to go along this path,” Medvedev said. That move is bound to cause controversy and many officials at the meeting tiptoed around the issue, warning the Kremlin chief against any hasty measures.