|Health and educational experts proposed that the Ministry of Health (MoH) place the cough medicine on its list of addictive substances, which would restrict sales to adults with a doctor's prescription.— Photo laodong
HA NOI (VNS)— Health and educational experts proposed that the Ministry of Health (MoH) place the cough medicine on its list of addictive substances, which would restrict sales to adults with a doctor's prescription.
They made the proposal after learning that students at many junior secondary schools in HCM City were caught using Recotus for recreational purposes.
About 50 students at Khanh Hoi A School in District 4 were caught overdosing on Recotus last school year. Some took six or seven tablets at one time, although the highest recommended dose is four tablets per day.
It was the first of several such busts. In September, a teacher at Tang Bat Ho Junior Secondary School in District 4 found seven female students with 20 tablets. The students said that a stranger advised them to drink the medicine to feel good.
The following month, an administrator at Lu Gia School in District 11 discovered a group of students in grade eight with glassy eyes and speech difficulties. After checking their bags, the supervisor seized the medicine.
Deputy chief inspector from the MoH Bui Duc Phong said an overdose could cause serious side effects, delusions and sudden death.
However, many students were attracted by the cheap price, VND7,000-8,000 (US$0.33-0.38) for 10 tablets, and the prospect of feeling "comfortable and excited," as deputy director of the municipal Department of Education and Training Tran Thi Kim Thanh put it.
"The medicine creates a desirable feeling, so they use it, although they do not understand its consequences," she said.
Director of the Ministry of Education and Training's Department of Student Affairs Ngu Duy Anh said that there was not enough management of private drug stores, while representatives from various schools blamed the problem on the shortage of medical workers in schools.
Only 940 out of nearly 1,700 schools in HCM City have medical workers and only 50 per cent of them are qualified based on MoH regulations.
Principal of Lu Gia School Thai Minh Phu said that the school had distributed information about the medicine's proper usage and joined hands with local police and drug stores to prevent students from buying the medicine.
MoH has issued a circular guiding the use of addictive medicines, although it does not mention children as potential drug abusers. — VNS