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Cold turkey for traders

Cocaine is viewed as the drug of choice for high fliers in high pressure careers. But not many would publicly declare a correlation between drug-taking and performance in the workplace... until now.

Carlo Giovanardi, an undersecretary in the Italian government who has responsibility for the family and for drug policy, has said the roller-coaster Italian markets could owe a lot to drug taking, and he'd like to put a stop to it by introducing drug testing for securities traders on the Milan stock market.

Using the drug is an "alarm that needs to be listened to", according to the 61-year-old.

"I rather doubt that an investor would entrust his or her savings to an alcoholic. And the same thing holds good for cocaine," he declared. Traders aren't the only ones to be targeted, as his grand plan would also include testing drivers, surgeons and police.

With a colourful prime minister like Silvio Berlusconi to watch, Giovanardi probably counts as a dull politician. But to say stock market volatility could be down to drug users losing sight of reality is probably a case of pot kettle black.