A popular Italian satirical TV show has exposed what appears to be widespread drug use among the country's parliamentarians by secretly testing them for a number of illegal substances.
Of 50 lower house deputies who fell for the trick organized by the program Le Iene (the Hyenas), almost one third appeared to have taken drugs in the previous 36 hours, 12 of them testing positive for cannabis and four for cocaine, it said.
A reporter for the program, pretending to be an interviewer for a non-existent satellite TV show, approached the deputies for their views on the 2007 draft budget, while a bogus make-up artist dabbed their brow between filming.
The body cells collected by the dabbing were then tested for drugs.
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"Personally I don't appreciate this form of intrusion into people's private lives," Social Solidarity Minister Paolo Ferrero told the news agency ANSA. "But the test results seem to confirm what is widely believed about drug use on the part of many parliamentarians."