Teenagers as young as 13 are taking drugs and being increasingly drawn into drug-dealing networks, a former drug dealer who was involved in the illicit trade for four years has claimed. And police have revealed that the number of people under 16 being arrested for trafficking has risen seven-fold in a year - from only five in 2000 to 36 last year. Li Man-ho, 19, who is on a court order to stay in the Christian Zheng Sheng Association drug rehabilitation centre on Lantau for two years, said he was surprised to find some of the drug users and dealers he came across were only 13. The former drug dealer and addict, who has another 18 months of the court order to run, said he became involved in drugs in 1996 when he was a Form Four student in Tuen Mun. Man-ho plied his trade to pupils at five government-subsidised secondary schools in Tuen Mun before he was arrested about six months ago. 'We sold cocaine and Ecstasy to students outside school, at small parks or convenience stores. Students who bought the drugs would bring them back to schools and resell them to their classmates at a higher price,' he said. He said some students took cocaine during the day at school or in public areas near their schools such as parks or public toilets. Teenagers would bring Ecstasy to discos in Tsuen Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui at night to share with their friends. Man-ho said he collected the drugs from triad members in villages in Yuen Long. However, he did not know the source of the drugs. Chinese University anatomy professor Alfreda Stadlin, who is also an expert in drug studies, said the situation in Hong Kong was worrying as both drug offenders and abusers were getting younger - a situation comparable to the United States. 'I was shocked when some school social workers told me Form One or Form Two students are involved in drugs. I thought it was only limited to students at senior grades,' she said. Dr Stadlin said he was worried that even younger people would become involved in drugs if the Government failed to take prompt action to control the situation, such as a comprehensive 'no-drug' programme to train teachers and social workers. Her view was shared by the director of the Christian Zheng Sheng Association Drug Centre, Jacob Lam Hay-sing, who complained that Hong Kong lacked a comprehensive anti-drug programme in schools. The Narcotics Division admitted that Tuen Mun ranked second in drug abuse after Kwun Tong. But the division claimed the age of young drug abusers only dropped slightly from 17.5 in 1996 to 17 years and three months in 2001. A spokesman for the division said the Social Welfare Department had provided anti-drug services at district level in view of the drug abuse problem in different districts. The Community Against Drugs Scheme also provides funding to various organisations.