Soldiers may soon be subjected to mandatory narco-testing as part of new drug army crackdown on drugs.
Speaking to the media yesterday head doctor of the National Guard Christos Kyprianou said the measures are necessary if one considers the level of responsibility soldiers have in their jobs.
“Being part of the army means handling sensitive materials such as explosives and ammunitions. We must have healthy soldiers capable of doing their jobs which means they must stay away from drugs.”
He added that individuals who apply for commissioned positions in the National Guard have been required to undergo narco-tests since August.
The proposal was discussed yesterday by the House Defence Committee which wants the measure voted in soon in order to crack down on what it considers a serious threat within the military.
Committee chairman George Varnavas said there had been no positive samples tested yet there is definitely a drugs issue in the army.
“Based on the evidence we have before us there exists a certain number of soldiers who regularly use drugs in the army.”
He added that the committee would continue to examine the evidence and said he hoped the proposal would be voted on within the next two months.
Disy MP Rikkos Mappourides said the aim of the measures is not to punish soldiers who use narcotics but rather to help them.
“The plan is for narco-testing in the army to be carried out just as it is in the prisons. This involves tests on saliva and urine samples which are carried out by specialised professionals.”
Akel deputy Costas Costa said that in order for the measure to work there would first need to be an increase of co-operation between the Ministry of Defence, the National Guard and the Cyprus Anti-Drugs Council.
“We must take further initiatives to prevent drug use from spreading within the army and to provide assistance to those who already have a drugs problem.”