Drug testing in schools and at the workplace
In March 2008, the platform adopted an Opinion on the practice of drug testing at school, at the workplace and on
recruitment which finalised the work started in 2004.
A publication was then produced (September 2008) with all the
reports prepared in the course of this work, in particular a report on drug testing in
schools in European countries and an inventory of European national legislations on drug testing in the workplace.
See the Opinion
Drug testing at school
In the course of their examination, the experts endeavoured to determine the relationship between the testing and
the combating of drugs, and whether testing might have a preventive function. This function being unproven, they
stress that testing does not shield a young person from being caught up, at some point in time, in a situation of
psychoactive substance abuse, and are anxious about the risk of stigmatisation and exclusion. They recall that
teachers are vested with an educational mission which is meant to provide knowledge and assistance in the child’s
maturation process, and are not designated for a function of policing. They conclude that the precautionary principle
cannot justify what they regard as an infringement of pupils’ personal integrity.
Drug testing in the workplace
The Platform considers that testing may be akin to an invasion of the worker’s privacy, even though the dangerousness
to the worker personally, as well as to co-workers, of being under the influence of a psychoactive substance could
possibly warrant such testing. It recommends in this connection that States adopt common rules for determining
occupations carrying a risk. It considers that the precautionary principle invariably justifies referral to the
occupational medicine department, where there is doubt as to the worker’s fitness, and stresses confidentiality in
order to safeguard his or her private life. It accordingly encourages States to legislate on the independence and
professional secrecy of occupational medicine.
Testing on recruitment
The Platform considers this all the more serious an interference with fundamental rights given that international
conventions unexceptionally recognise in principle each person’s right to work and prohibit discriminatory recruitment.
It points out the risk of stigmatisation and recalls that unemployment may become a factor triggering problematic consumption.