Several schools in a northern province have stepped up surveillance and called for police to investigate information that their students have been enticed into using drugs by strangers.
Teachers from Pho Moi town in Bac Ninh Province were alerted after parents told the police about their children having used drugs over the past two weeks, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
At least 23 student victims, all boys, have been identified. They are between 13 and 17 years old, including two from high schools, 20 from a secondary school and one from a primary school.
They had been introduced to drug via drinks or direct smoking, the children said.
Hoang Cong Huan, police chief of Pho Moi Town, said "Some children said they had smoked around ten times, some two to three times."
They were given tablets by older men, who told them to powder the tablets and burn them to inhale the smoke.
Some children said they were invited by strange men to play football and billiards, given coke to drink and given money later, Huan said.
He said four children in the list have admitted to using the drugs first and making younger ones follow.
But it is not clear who had approached the children in the first place, Huan said.
He said the Que Vo District Police Department is still looking into the matter, but the children were going to school normally.
Huan said it was not easy for the police to publicize the list as a number of parents did not want their parents to bear the stigma of being drug addicts.
Nguyen Khac Thuong, a village head, said he has used different ways to make concerned parents report their children.
"I have suspected some children using drugs for sometime now because of their unusual gathering outside schools," Thuong said.
A woman., identified as Lai Thi A., whose son was the youngest in the list, was among a few parents ready to report her child.
"I think we need to publicize the situation so that other parents can protect their children," A. told Tuoi Tre.
Since the news broke, almost all students in the town have been forced by their parents to go to the medical center for urine tests.
Teachers from the schools said they will ask local authorities to strengthen management at cafeterias and eateries in the area to reduce the risks that the students will be exposed to.
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