2nd Mexican school hit by tranquilizer craze

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The second school in as many days was hit Thursday by the mass ingestion of tranquilizer pills that may be linked to a social media “challenge.”

Mexico City police said eight students at a middle school had been treated by paramedics after swallowing a “controlled medication,” and that three of them had been taken to a hospital.

Police did not say what the drug was, but the term “controlled medication” in Mexico usually refers to pain killers, sedatives or psychotropic substances.

None of the students were believed to be in any danger, but police and ambulances were still posted outside the No. 26 middle school in downtown Mexico City Thursday afternoon.

Julio César Sánchez said his daughter, a ninth grader, told him that she knew of two students who had been affected after taking a “prohibited substance,” but that school authorities had not yet informed parents what it was.

The incident came one day after three students at another middle school near the northern city of Monterrey were treated for doses of clonazepam, a tranquilizer or sedative sometimes sold under the brand name Klonopin.

Daniel Carrillo, the mayor of the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolás de los Garza, confirmed the incident. In his Twitter account, Carrillo wrote that “the first thing tomorrow they (the students) will continue under observation,” and said he gave thanks “it wasn’t any worse.”

The pills play a role in a social media trend known as the “clonazepam challenge,” in which students compete to be “the last person to fall asleep.” The pills can cause extreme drowsiness.

Sánchez said there had been talk about social media challenges at his daughter’s school.

“Unfortunately, these things can lead kids to extremes,” Sánchez said. “The freedom on social media can can lead to good, or bad.”

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