Police changes street drug testing rules in Georgia

Georgia’s Interior Ministry refined the regulations for testing people for alleged drug use. Photo by Interior Ministry.
Agenda.ge, 16 Oct 2015 - 17:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Georgian health sector official is praising a rule change allowing police officers to conduct on the spot drug tests on individuals believed to be under the influence of drugs.

Today head of Parliament’s Healthcare and Social Issues Committee Dimitri Khundadze thanked Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs for changing the rules relating to drug testing individuals on alleged drug use.

As of September 30 police can no longer test an individual for drugs unless the individual showed suspicious signs of drug intoxication or was caught breaking the law.

Before September 30, police had the right to test anyone for alleged drug use.

Earlier this year Khundadze addressed the Ministry to refine the rules, regulations, procedures and occasions when law enforcers were allowed to check ordinary citizens for alleged drug use. 

He said 70 percent of the people stopped by police and taken for a drugs test had never used drugs. These random checks were costly and violated a person’s rights. He believed police should only have the right to conduct a test when there was suspicion or evidence a person had taken drugs.

On one hand it was a violation of a person’s rights and on the other hand the procedures were costly and required much money from the state budget,” Khundadze said. 

Since the new rules came into effect police have only stopped and tested people they believed had consumed drugs, or others who were caught while committing an offence, such as causing a public disturbance, engaging in hooliganism, loitering and other activities.