Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 12:26 UK

Criminal drug test scheme starts

Drugs test kit
Drug treatment and testing orders will be issued to smaller scale offenders

A 1m pilot scheme of drug testing orders for criminals in the Lothians and Borders has been launched.

If successful it is intended the Scottish Government supported plan would be extended across the country.

The scheme will see drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) issued to less serious offenders than they have been used with in the past.

Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said the strategy was designed to "intervene at an earlier stage".

DTTOs are court orders currently issued to serious offenders with drugs problems who would otherwise face a jail sentence.

They require the consent of the offender and aim to reduce the likelihood of drug-related crime.

The orders combine both drug treatment and a regular testing regime.

Recovering addicts

The new pilot scheme covers courts in Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and the Borders.

Mr Ewing said he believed the move could help give more drug users access to "appropriate treatment and support services".

"Many of the recovering addicts I've met say that DTTOs have helped them become drug free," he said.

"Although DTTOs currently target offenders who've committed a great deal of crime to fund their addiction, this innovative new pilot will intervene at an earlier stage in their offending career."

He added that he hoped it would help to reduce the chances that such criminals would "graduate to more serious offending".


SEE ALSO
Sharp rise in prison drug finds
30 May 08 |  South of Scotland
Call for drug testing of inmates
03 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Police begin prisoner drug tests
11 Jun 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Heroin 'abundant' in Scots jails
16 Oct 06 |  Scotland

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