Information About the Drug Abuse Prevention Center

The Situation in Japan

 Along with problems with the global enviroment, population increases, and the spreads of AIDS, the drug problem is one of the most serious social problems facing the world today. In Japan, our problems include junior high school student suicides due to bullying and increases in incidents involving the use of guns and drug smuggling. In addition, drug abuse among young people is increasing. The abuse of paint thinner among junior high school students is serving as the first step toward abuse of marijuana and other drugs. The tainted circle or drugs continues to enlarge, with the arrests of popular singers, artists, and other celebrities for drug abuse. In general, cases in which drugs are brought into the country from abroad are increasing, but the foreigners who are arrested at the airport are only the tip of the iceberg. of course, the Japanese Mafia is involved. Although these types of cases are increasing, there is little recognition of the threat to the public, and the mass media has been reluctant to help raise awareness of the problem.

 The level of public awareness of the drug problem is quite low, and as a rule, the average citizen thinks that words, such as "amphetamine," have nothing to do with him or the people around him. Basically, the average citizen almost always thinks of drugs in connection with gangsters.

 When we look at the drug abuse situation in 1994, the number of amphetamine cases continued at a high level with 19,000 amphetamine arrests involving 15,000 people, and the 270kg of drugs confiscated was there times higher than the year before. There were 121 people arrested in connection with cocaine cases, and 20kg were seized. With the south American drug cartels targeting Japan as an illicit drug market, the situation is said to be extremely critical. Recently, marijuana trends are also increasing. Arrestees increased by 1,700 people ( 8% ), and 180kg were confiscated. Psychotropic drug-related crimes have also widely increased in comparison to the 105 arrests involving 73 people in 1993. As for paint thinner, of the 9,800 people who were arrested, 73% were young people. Drug abuse has widely penetrated the adolescent population.

 In addition, with more than 12 million people traveling abroad per year, both the opportunities to came into contact with drugs in foreign countries and the numbers of drug-related crimes are on the rise. In particular, there have been numerous arrests related to the transport of drugs from various South East Asian countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan, to Japan as a transshipment point, with a third country as the ultimate destination.

 In Japan, the general public holds a very narrow view of the drug problem. Since drug education and prevention activities have not yet spread throughout the general population, there is an urgent need for the Center's thorough campaign to prevent first-time use, and the significance and the necessity of this campaign are now being recognized. However, the drug education campaign is still insufficient because it has yet reached the entire nation. It is necessary for the government and citizens to work eve harder to develop a national movement against drugs.