Step up anti-drug campaign in schools, coroner urges

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 February, 2007, 12:00am

A coroner asked the government yesterday to step up anti-drug campaigning in schools, highlighting the hidden risk of using multiple party drugs.

William Lam Kui-po made the call as he entered a verdict of death by misadventure in the case of a 13-year-old girl who died after a drug overdose last July.

The court heard Form One student Cheuk Wai-yin had taken 10 times the lethal dose of Ecstasy and an appreciable amount of ketamine before she died on a Mong Kok pavement near a nightclub she had been to in the early hours of July 26. She had 3.8 micrograms of Ecstasy per millilitre of blood, while the lethal level starts at 0.4 micrograms.

Before her death she had complained of fatigue and shortness of breath.

Mr Lam said multiple drug use was very dangerous as drugs of a similar nature might interact, intensifying their harmful effects. He sympathised with the family for their loss of a child whose ignorance of party drugs led to her death.

Mr Lam said the government should consider more anti-drug campaigns, using television, leaflets or school outreach programmes on the dangers of party drugs. Police should also conduct frequent raids on entertainment venues.

The coroner's suggestions were welcomed by youth outreach workers, although they said they were not always welcome in schools.

'Some schools have refused to let social workers visit to give talks about drug abuse. Some feel that they don't have a drug problem. Some think that it will affect their image and encourage their students to take drugs,' said Lee Tak-wai, of outreach group Playground Association. 'Prevention is a must. It can prevent youngsters from falling into the trap of drug addiction.'