Information About the Drug Abuse Prevention Center

Key Points on the Production of Prevention and Education Material and an Effective Awareness Campaign

・Recognition of the Drug Problem and Points for Production of Materials

・Methods for the Effective Use of Publicity Materials

 When campaigns against drug abuse are mentioned, they are often confused with movements to ban alcohol or tobacco, and this makes anti-drug education difficult.

 Cigarettes and alcohol are legal for those over 20 years age in Japan. They are personal matters, not subject to punishment. You may be thanked for cautions and advice given out of concern for person's health, but, where drugs are concerned, it is a completely different matter. If you carelessly tell an adult friend in Japan, "Those stimulants are bad for you, cut it out!", that person is lawbreaker so you are threatening his personal freedom by acknowledging his drug use. In Japan, in contrast to other countries, laws against drug abuse are stringently enforced and are applicable to the offenses of illegal drug possession and drug abuse. In short, if you carelessly tell a friend to quit, he could fly into a rage. Therefore, even in the closest friend or family relationship, it's not something that can be discussed. For this reason, between adults, the other's point of view and personality must be respected. In this situation, it is difficult to smoothly develop campaigns going under the name of drug abuse prevention. Another characteristic is that drug abuse invades the brain, in other words it ruins the heart and mind, rendering the person unable to live a normal life in society. Furthermore, we humans are alone in possessing hearts and minds and only we can solve this problem, so it can truly be said to be a difficult one.

 At the same time, most people still have an image of drugs as something that affects other people. They are largely indifferent to narcotics and stimulants as they are to organized crime, hoping to avoid these problems all of their lives.

 Therefore, a general kind of campaign will initially be encouraged by the public. As a rule, however, PR between adults and between friends is difficult, so it is necessary to try a slightly different approach.

 One change is to transform the previously gloomy image into a bright, healthy one, and another is to change the way of conveying the massage.

 If the spearhead of the a campaign's activities is developed in the anti-drug education of minors (in the same way as it is for alcohol and cigarettes), particularly young junior high school students, these children may have the previously mentioned kind of discussion with their friends. In comparison with discussion between adults, however, they only see that which is the current topic on TV and other media. This point shows that the real energy of a drug abuse prevention campaign should start with the preventive education of junior high school students.

 According to a recent American report on the drug problem, the number of drug abuser has declined by between 15% and 20%. The reduction among high schools students is particularly conspicuous. This is result of drug abuse prevention education in schools, particularly the propagation of accurate information about the harm to body and mind, the crimes caused, and the breakdown of home and society due to drug abuse. In a Japan-U.S. Symposium jointly sponsored by this Center and an equivalent American NGO (PRIDE) in January 1993, Dr. Gleaton, head of PRIDE, gave valuable suggestions for Japan's narcotics countermeasures based on America's bitter experience. In 1959, drug abusers in America were a mere 1% of the population and, at the tame, drug abuse was a personal matter. Some specialists looked leniently population on drug abuse, and there was little concern with education against it. As a result, ten years later drug abuse had spread to such an extent that 60% of the population had experience with drugs. Now drug abuse is permeating to even primary school children, and this is the gravest social problem in America "What I would like to suggest here is that the state of America 25 years ago and that of Japan today are alarmingly similar," Dr. Gleaton said. "But this time, I wish to see toward a wonderful Japan 25 years from now in the repercussions in the future. The holding of this symposium and the progress to be expected against drug abuse will give birth to a bright future for Japan."