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Malaysia plans scanners with eye test tech to net drug users

Kuala Lumpur: To "look at the growing drug abuse cases among school children in the eye", Malaysian government has decided to set up scanners with eye test technology in schools to track down cases of drug addiction, a news report said here today.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar said a pilot project would be carried out at a secondary school in Kuala Lumpur next month to determine the effectiveness of the plan.

According to the police, the number of students caught for drug related offences had quadrupled in three years from 59 cases in 2003 to 225 cases in 2005, the New Straits Times said.

The minister said drug users detected by the eye scanner would also be subjected to urine tests to be more accurate about their `habit'. Noh said the scanners, at RM 2,000 (Rs 24000) each, were cost-effective, less time-consuming, and allowed more people to be tested than the standard urine tests currently performed.

"The scanners will not only identify students under the influence of drugs but also the types of drugs they are consuming. This will show up in a graph," Noh was quoted by the daily as saying.

"If a test shows a student is under the influence of drugs, he will not be handed to the police but will be grouped with other students similarly detected and they will be sent for counselling," he said.

"The Education Ministry has come up with a module which will also include co-curricular activities to rehabilitate the affected students," the paper added.