In June 2022, it was reported that 60% of first-time illegal drug users in Vietnam were aged between 15-25, primarily students, highlighting the growing concern of drug use among the younger generation. According to the Ministry of Public Security, younger individuals are increasingly turning to drugs, presenting significant challenges for prevention and control efforts.

Investigators have witnessed numerous peculiar cases of drug use among teenagers. One case involved a high school student being given a marijuana brownie by a fitness coach. The student shared the brownie with classmates, resulting in the group being hospitalized due to poisoning. Criminals exploit the psychological aspects of students and young people to entice them, as drugs are often perceived as “cool” or “fashionable.”

Major General Bùi Đức Thiêm, Deputy Head of Department 5, Narcotics Investigation Police Department (C04, Ministry of Public Security), highlighted the fact that young people are often misinformed about the consequences and harms of drug use. Moreover, the 2015 Criminal Code does not criminalize drug use, and the legalization of marijuana in countries such as the US, Canada, and Thailand contributes to misconceptions about drug use.

Criminals are increasingly infiltrating schools, using innovative methods to approach and entice young people, including adding drugs to food and beverages. For instance, in April 2022, the Narcotics Investigation Police Department of Lâm Đồng Police discovered a case of drugs mixed into milk tea, which was then sold to teenagers. Social media and word-of-mouth marketing were used to sell these drug-laced products.

In another instance, four high school students in Hải Dương province were caught mixing drugs with tobacco and using a pipe to smoke it. This new form of liquid drug was discovered in various colors and flavors, making it more appealing to young users.

The Ministry of Public Security warned that drug-related crimes targeting young adults are becoming increasingly alarming, with criminals employing diverse tactics to introduce drugs on school campuses. Synthetic drugs with various appearances, chemical compositions, and addictive substances are now on the market, often mixed with food and beverages to evade law enforcement detection.

As an example, criminals crush party pills and mix them with coffee powder or soft drinks, or incorporate marijuana into cakes, which are then sold online. Furthermore, some criminals produce drugs containing addictive and hallucinogenic substances disguised as food powders or drinks, like “happy water,” mango juice, and strawberry juice.

Law enforcement agencies have seized various substances, including MDMA, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, and Nimetazepam, during multiple arrests of individuals involved in illegal drug trade. Mixing drugs with food or beverages is primarily for convenience in transactions, sales, and transportation to evade detection and cater to customers who want to hide drugs from family members.

Criminals have also found ways to introduce new-generation drugs into electronic cigarettes. In early February 2023, Thạch Thất Police in Hà Nội arrested an individual distributing and selling electronic cigarettes containing drugs to young people in the area. The substance found in the e-cigarettes was ADB-Butinaca, a synthetic cannabis substance banned by the government.

Lieutenant Colonel Thiêm emphasized that new-generation drugs have a faster production rate and a more significant impact on humans than traditional drugs, making the situation even more alarming.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.
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