The Establishment of the Center and the Situation of Drug Abuse in Japan

 The Drug Abuse Prevention Center (a juridation hereinafter called the Center) was established on June 1, 1987, after receiving approval of Japanese Cabinet on January 27 of the same year.

 In Japan, drug problem arose in the latter half of the 1940s from the abuse of a stimulant called philopon. In the latter half of the 1950s, heroin was abused. Begining in the late 1970s, there was a resurgence of stimulant abuse which has reached a high level today and shows no signs of decling.Instead, as Japan has entered the 1990s, abuse of new drugs, such as cocaine and psychotropics, has increased,and the situation has become very worrisome. With regard to this situation,Japan has responded to international opotunities to eradicate drug abuse. Because it is necessary to promote the strengthening of drug education and prevention along with the strengthening of conventional law enforcement cntrols toward illegal trafficking, the Drug Abuse Prevention Center was established, as a juridical foundation and nongovermental organization, to promote drug abuse prevention activities to the goverment and tha general public.

 Abuse of drug, such as stimulants and paint thinner,not only harms people's health and lives, but it also cause immeasurable damage by destroying families, disrupting schools, work places, and society in general,and sapping the nation's vitality.

 Drug abuse is one of mankindユs most serious problems. World-wide,drug abuse is increasing among young people, upon whose shoulders the next generation rests.In Japan in the 1950s, drug abuse was not seen at all among adolescents, particularly aomng junior and senior high school students. However, in the U.S., drug abuse increased significantly after the Vietnam War.In the past in China, drug what was called the Opium Wars, drugs were distributed freely dualing a militaly invantion and led to the ruin of many people.It is said that one of result of the former Soviet Unionユs withdrawal from its conflict with Afganistan also has been the spread of drug abuse among its troops. (The U.S. drug problem will be discussed in a separate section.)

 In mordern Japan.there has been a striking increase of drug abuse among young people. Ten years ago, when the Center was established, there were already U.S. reports of American elementary, junior high,and high school students who passesed drugs,dealt drugs, and abused them on school grounds, leading them to comimit variouse crimes. In Japan, this type of situation was considered unthinkable.However, since the end of WWII, it is said that both good things and bad things have been introduced to our country from U.S. on a ten-year cycle, and problems of drug abuse problem are no exception. As japanese families become more Americanized, nagative aspects of thet Americanization also are occurring. In the past year or two,a very alarming situation has been developing in Japan as well. There have been cases of high school students who have been arrested for using syimulants at school, and incidents in which junior high and elementary school students have been arrested for abusing stimulants are becoming more frequent.

 According to U.S. statistics, heroin and cocaine abuse have spread dramatically since the 1980s, and confisicated drug amounts have also increased exponentially.A compatison of 1980 and 1990 statistics shows significant growth in that heroine has increased tenfold and cocaine approximately 28-fold.Drug abuse had permeated the entire world, with no exceptions.In comparison to 10years ago,mankind has been extermely threatened. According to estimates of the U.N.Drug Control Programme(UNDCP), there are well over 50 million drug abusers in the world today,and the range of abused drugs also is said to be increasing. Beginning this year, the UNDCP wil release statistics on confiscated amounts of stimulants. According to the UNDCP report, the amount of stimulants confiscated in Japan ranks fifth-largest in the world. It has been said before thet Japan has a reratively effective policy towards the drug problem, but, looking at the UNDCP reort, certainly it cannot be said that Japan is a country that is successfully hendling this issue.Rather, it can be said in Japan, as in all of the other countries of the world, the drug problem has become a very serious social problem.

 Along with the developmet of international cultural exchanges, drug abuse has also ignored all domestic boundaries,and illicit trafficking is running rampant. There is a clear trend, among the South American drug cartels (drug mafia), toward targeting Japan as a market for the scourge of cocaine. Drug abuse is becoming a grave social problem with harmful effects ranging from the menace to our minds and bodies to international standards, supporting the activities of terrorists against leading figures, and suppliyng arms to leftist guerrillas.

 Against this unfavorable background, the United Nations hekd a General Assembly Special Sessio on Drugs in February 1990. It adopted a resolution declarling the ten years from 1991-2000 as the メUnited Nations Decade Against Drug Abuseモ with the aim of achieving the eradication of drug abuse, through international cooperation, by the year 2000.

 To solve the drug abuse problem, it is very important to strengthen controls aimed at rooting our drug dealing, but, today, the most necessary and crucial policies advocated internationally are aimed at demand reduction. In the other words, by the time a person ends up abusing drugs, it is too late. Therefore, there is a presing need to promote drug abuse education and prevention campaigns to prevent first-time use. While strategies aiming at current drug abusers have already been implemented, it is even more important to implement drug education and prevention campaigns aimed at the majority of people who are not currently using drugs.

 The most important methhod of achieving these aims is to disseminate accurate information about drug abuse, in other words, information which will make clear to the public the damaging influence drug abuse has on the mind and body and which will create public intolerance toward this abuse.

 With this view in mind, the Japanese Cabinet established a nongavermental organization (the Drug Abuse Prevention Center), and through its national campaign of drug abuse prevention and education activities, the Center promotes the creation of a social enviroment, consistent with its "Dame. Zettai."(No, Absolutely No!) slogan, which does not tolerate drug abuse.