By: Nick Gambino

I think we can all agree we’d be thrilled if our kids stayed off drugs. But while most of us are either scaring the hell out of our kids with gory personal drug stories or attempting to go the more mellow educational route, some schools in China are trying something a little different.

As part of the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, kids who attended the local event put on VR headsets to experience what it might feel like to trip balls. Some of the kids attended with their school while others were brought by parents. Presumably to knock some sense into them.

They were shown VR videos filled with psychedelic colors and shapes to simulate hallucinations. Apparently this was a bit heavier than a kaleidoscope effect as it created physical effects on some of the kids.

“I feel my body shaking…and I feel very uncomfortable,” one boy says on camera. While another kid added that she is “very scared.”

Though it might seem a bit unorthodox, it seems to have struck a chord with some of the young participants. “[I guess] that’s the feeling you have when you take drugs…it feels terrible,” one student said.

I know not all of you will understand this video but for those of you who speak Chinese, here’s some video of the experience. For the rest of you, I’m sure you can pick up the gist of what’s going on. Though don’t ask me to explain the guy resembling Robocop. You’re on your own with that one.

Now I haven’t had the chance to try out the VR drug experience but it seems that augmented reality might be the better way to go if you want to make it feel like you’re actually hallucinating in the real world environment. Though I’m sure if you have enough input from those who’ve had their fair share of drugs, you might be able to create a very real experience with VR.

We’ll have to see if this tactic catches on here in the U.S. In the meantime I’m sticking with McGruff the Crime Dog to get my message across.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.