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China: Around The Nation

Chinese officials let children ‘experience drugs’ through VR

Virtual-reality headsets beaming psychedelic images give youngsters an unpleasant, but harmless, experience of taking narcotics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 June, 2017, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 June, 2017, 3:43pm

Customs officials in southern China have adopted virtual reality technology in their efforts to educate children about the dangers of taking drugs, state media reported.

Youngsters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, were invited to take part in a range of activities during an event held to mark the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which fell on Monday, Xinhua reported.

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One of the main attractions was a stall where children were able to experience the unpleasant side effects of taking drugs by donning a virtual reality (VR) headset.

Video footage from the event shared by Guangdong Television shows a young girl asking for the machine to be switched off to escape the dizzying images being beamed into her brain.

“I feel that my arms are numb, can [the VR video] be stopped?” she asks.

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The psychedelic colours and swirling shapes used in the video were specifically designed to replicate the sensations caused by drug use.

Not everything at the event was designed to make youngsters fell ill, however.

Another popular attraction was a superstar sniffer dog, which showed of its skills at detecting drugs hidden inside a car. The dog’s handler said that over the years, the eight-year-old Labrador had helped to crack about a dozen drug cases.

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Meanwhile, in the Tianhe district of Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong, children got the chance to meet an anti-drugs robot, Southern Daily reported.

The automaton informed youngsters about the different types of drugs and warned them of the dangers they pose.