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Taiwan: Children were given psychoactive drugs in a kindergarten. They were in syrup

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A kindergarten in the city of New Taipei, Taiwan, where staff allegedly administered syrup containing psychoactive substances used as medicines, has been closed, the BBC reports. The principal and guardians have so far been fined, but criminal proceedings are pending.

Mike, the father of a five-year-old boy from the preschool, was quoted by the BBC as saying that parents were suspicious of their children’s strange behavior during the Chinese New Year holiday in late February. It was like drug withdrawal symptoms. “Some parents have noticed that their children have become irritable, restless, crying in their sleep and screaming with leg cramps,” the man said.

The portal informs that after talking to the children, the parents realized that their guardians in the kindergarten gave them an “unknown drink”. Reports related to the case began to be received by the police in April, and the investigation was launched in June. According to the BBC, trace amounts of phenobarbital and benzodiazepines, classified as psychoactive drugs, were detected in the organisms of “at least eight children”. The former is used as a hypnotic and anti-epileptic agent, while benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. Both substances are addictive, both were in the cough medicine. Investigators do not know why it was given to children.

On June 12, the local authorities decided to temporarily close the facility located in New Taipei, part of the Taipei metropolitan area. A financial penalty of 150,000 Taiwanese dollars (nearly 5,000 US dollars) was imposed on the kindergarten’s management. The director of the facility and five carers employed there were arrested and questioned by the police, but all six were released on bail. Criminal proceedings in the case are ongoing, the BBC noted.

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Taiwan. Psychoactive drugs administered to children

The portal cites local media, according to which the staff of the kindergarten refuted the parents’ allegations, claiming that they had received a list of medicines administered to children. In turn, parents criticize not only the actions of carers, but also the authorities. The BBC reports that on June 18 they organized a demonstration in front of one of the government buildings, during which they demanded greater transparency of police investigations. Hundreds of people took part in the protest.

The day after the demonstration, Taiwanese media reported another similar case. Four doctors from the city of Kaohsiung, on the other end of the island, were found guilty of misusing phenobarbital while treating 20 children in their care. The medics were suspended for six months from their duties, and each of them must pay 1.4 million Taiwan dollars (about 46 thousand US dollars) in penalties.

SEE ALSO: The last Taiwanese “comfortress” has died

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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