Police in Fukuoka have arrested the 36-year-old driver of a car that collided into several cars, leaving one person in serious condition and 14 others with minor injuries on Wednesday night.
Police said the male driver told them he had been smoking a herb -- one of the so-called "loophole drugs," Fuji TV reported.
According to police, a patrol officer who had pulled the driver over, noticed a cloud of white smoke exit the windows. Suddenly the car pulled out from the side of the road and drove off. As the suspect sped through a red light, he collided with several other cars.
After careening into cars in his own lane, and then several oncoming cars, the driver finally stopped after hitting a guardrail on the side of the road. Overall, 10 cars were involved in the incident, Fuji reported. Along with 12 people in other cars, and one pedestrian, the suspect and a passenger in his car also sustained injuries.
Police were quoted as saying that the driver and his passenger were rambling incoherently. However, the driver later admitted he had been smoking herbs, police said.
The smoking of “haabu” (herbs), or loophole drugs, sometimes containing hallucinogens, has been a growing problem in Japan in recent years. The unregulated products have caused serious health problems, and even death, while the law has been struggling to catch up.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is planning to change the legal designation of 775 quasi-legal drugs in a plan to combat the growing use of these “herbs.”© Japan Today