Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is Japan becoming a 'drug heaven?' › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

Is Japan becoming a 'drug heaven?' › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion:

Aside from the fact that Japan is already a drug heaven with alcohol and tobacco addiction with a probably under-reported 2% alcoholism rate and a 30% smoking rate, the country already has its legal drugs of choice. Who needs something as expensive as marijuana?

This article is exploding with rumor, fear mongering, scapegoating, and outright misinformation.

“People toke up openly on campus,” the magazine hears from one Keio student. “It’s not just a matter of five or 10 people.”
Now that's reliable journalism.

A club employee in Roppongi seems to confirm Friday’s worst fears. “Lately, it’s not unusual to see college students toking up. Smoking marijuana at clubs and at raves is just everyday stuff now.”
Our worst fears realized, and in such a reliable fashion, a club employee in Roppongi...

“Many of the sellers handling stimulants and other narcotics are Iranian,” says an investigator. “Many of them here illegally.”

The stuff they sell used to come primarily from China, but a crackdown there stimulated the forging of fresh procurement connections in Europe and Canada.

Here it is, the foreign threat. This is something that happened in the US, too, scapegoating minorities for a domestic social problem that effects everyone.

“One gram of marijuana costs about 6,000 yen,” a police source tells Friday. “It’s easy for young people to get. And marijuana is likely to be a kind of gateway to the use of other drugs.”
Ahh.. "the gateway drug argument"... that seems to have lost its logical or scientific foundations a while ago. The Rand Corporation's study in 2002 found:

A new study by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center casts doubt on claims that marijuana acts as a "gateway" to the use of cocaine and heroin, challenging an assumption that has guided U.S. drug policies since the 1950s.
And where do kids get access to 6,000 yen to buy drugs? Sounds like a parenting problem to me.

The media could focus on a constructive confrontation of real social problems like suicide, violence in the home, education, the country's chronic inability to adhere to the guidelines of the Kyoto Treaty, or the very real threat that the country will not be able to feed itself because of the rapidly rising mean age of farmers. Instead we get this. I wouldn't think anything about it if this were the first such nonsense I had come in contact with, but there it isn't. For example, there were a couple of radio newscasters on the other day talking about "flashbacks." A word that they used several times in association with this story and the dire effects of marijuana.

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