Japan fights rising drug use with mobile message
June 13, 1997
Web posted at: 4:28 p.m. EDT (1628 GMT)
SAITAMA, Japan (CNN) -- Drug use among Japanese teen-agers
has jumped to record levels, prompting officials to seek
measures to curb the problem. And a van is leading the
drive against drugs.
The van tours the nation's various schools, touting a
drug-free message that helps inform teen-agers about the
dangers of drugs with graphic photographs, interactive
computers and other material.
"I don't think I'll do drugs after this," one girl said,
after seeing the display.
The government-affiliated school project began five years
ago, but only in the past year has drug use among teens
become a serious problem.
Japanese police say the number of high school students
arrested for amphetamine abuse nationwide hit an all-time
high in 1996, more than doubling in one year to 214. Experts
say teens have graduated from sniffing paint thinners and are
now turning to such black-market drugs as amphetamines.
Explanations for the spread of drug abuse vary. Some say it's
to pressures from school; others say it's part of being young
And though drug use by minors in Japan is still low by other
countries' standards, some parents here say it's a growing
problem they don't know how to deal with, but one they
"It's hard to teach my kids to reject drugs because our
generation hasn't experienced what they're going through,"
one parent said.
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