crime

Tohoku drug dealers slow to anticipate local demand

16 Comments

“Customer growth is stronger now compared to immediately after the quake,” said G, an organized crime group affiliate familiar with the illegal drug market. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 proved there was a good post-disaster market for illegal drugs among temporary housing residents and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, dealers from major urban centers swiftly loaded up and headed north to disaster-afflicted areas in the Tohoku region in search of quick profits.

According to G, “First on the scene were the stimulant drug pushers who began selling out of their cars on the back streets and in pachinko (pinball) parlor parking lots. Customers were wide-ranging, from high school students and young bar hostesses to grandfathers and grandmothers. Inferior grades of speed which couldn’t be sold in Tokyo and Osaka were offloaded there.”

However, these dealers soon found demand for their wares quickly tapering off. Though there is still a distribution route to the Tohoku region, nowadays very few outside dealers are going out of their way to specifically set up shop in the disaster-hit areas. The primary reason for this is that local area pushers up and down the Tohoku coast who had been servicing the market for stimulants among port and fishing industry workers before the quake were reestablishing themselves.

“There is a sort of urban legend going around that dealers from outside the region were rounded up and taken by boat to be dumped in the water inside the silt fence (designed to prevent the spread of contaminates) set up just offshore of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The probable truth, however, is unrelated to the earthquake. More than likely demand fell because technically legal hallucinatory herbs began to gain popularity among the region’s youth and the number of shops selling them in Sendai increased,” said G.

As the market for stimulants returns to normal, demand is rapidly growing for a different type of drug: prescription sedatives and sleeping pills.

“There have always been people dealing stimulants in Tohoku, but before the quake there wasn’t much of a market for sedatives. Compared to speed, sleeping pills are much cheaper,” explained G. "And, there are a lot of users because they are not illegal to take (unlike stimulants, where a person can be arrested for use if tests show the drug is in their system, even if they do not have any actual stimulant in their possession). Additionally, people addicted to sleeping pills will consume them every day. Dealers who were quick off the mark went to evacuation shelters while they were still overflowing with people. Displaced persons were having trouble sleeping so the dealers were able to swiftly gain a foothold and build demand. Through word of mouth they have been able to expand their customer base which now includes high school students and the elderly. Their territory is no longer limited just to areas that were seriously affected by the disaster, they are now even generating strong sales in the heart of Sendai city.”

Based on this, G believes stimulants are “not suited” for areas that have been afflicted by disaster.

“Most of the customers are not taking the drugs for pleasure. Every time there is an aftershock they have flashbacks of the quake and tsunami and think about the loved ones they’ve lost. They take drugs to try and escape the pain caused by those memories. If they take a stimulant they can’t sleep and that only makes matters worse. They want to feel relaxed. What the people in Tohoku need is ‘alcohol and sleeping pills,’” according to G’s analysis.

Currently, stimulant pushers in the region are switching horses and establishing themselves as sedative dealers. They source their drugs through illegal prescriptions in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, or by way of individuals who smuggle them in illegally from abroad.

“A sheet of ten sleeping pills is being sold for a few thousand yen. Though that doesn’t sound like much, it can’t be laughed at as a source of income for the gangs. One dealer went to Tohoku for just a couple of months and came back with more than three million yen (about 30,000 U.S. dollars) in sales,” said G.

“If you can sell sleeping pills, it also means there’s a market for marijuana. This summer we might see a shift in that direction,” he added.

Source: SPA

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Kanagawa Home of Back to Back Kinky Criminal Mischief -- Researchers Unravel the Mechanism Behind the Cause of Depression -- Smuggling of Human Flesh Capsules on the Increase in Korea

© RocketNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
Login to comment

PTSD drugs being illegally sold what a sad state of affairs for Japan a nation known for drug for citizens

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Very rare to see this type of article on JT. Very interesting as this topic is very taboo for Japanese people, yet very very alive here in Japan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Dropping them inside the silt fence for preying on the most vulnerable iOS actually not a bad idea.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Preying... maybe, it is a business, I guess. But these ppl need something to deal with the stress. They are very clearly providing the demand.

It is too bad about shabu (speed), tho. That is a nasty drug, especially if you get addicted. Alcohol doesn't help imo either. They need medical marijuana here in this country, not fishy chemical drugs sold by mobsters.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Actually, most of the drugs in Japan are not sold by mobsters: most are sold by doctors. Anti-depressants, tranquilizers and sleeping pills are readily available on prescription. Many doctors make a lot of money dealing, sorry, prescribing, drugs.

If a drug comes from a doctor, Japanese assume it is safe and not addictive as it is legal.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Firstly, don't report on these scum, arrest them.

Patrick HaggerApr. 29, 2013 - 07:06AM JST PTSD drugs being illegally sold what a sad state of affairs for Japan a nation known for drug for citizens

These aren't PTSD drugs, those would be anti-anxiety/anti-depression drugs. These are the exact opposite, likely to further destabilise the individuals and lead to worse symptoms.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The thing is ... Im not even entirely sure its a bad thing.

If these people are, for whatever reason, unable to get a hold of sleeping pills/anti anxiety medication from their doctor, but they need them ... then? I don't really see what the harm is.

To be honest, in my opinion, its the fault of the "Gaman" medical culture, in which doctors refuse to prescribe things like anti depressants or sleeping pills for these kind of problems, preferring a much more "just struggle on as best you can" approach. Its also a sure fire sign of the massive lack of mental illness support system in this country, and its also possible that the stigma of being diagnosed with mental illness is what is preventing these people seeking meds from an appropriate source.

Instead of the politicians "tut tutting" at the Yakuza, perhaps they should be using this information as a springboard into providing more help for the mentally ill (or those in Tohoku struggling with PTSD.)

I know the Yakuza are a profit making organization, and I see what they are doing is wrong, but clearly there is also wrong with Japanese society too, that the only place you can get these kind of legitimate, legal drugs is from your local Chinpira in a tight white suit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kimuzukashiiiiiApr. 29, 2013 - 06:52PM JST The thing is ... Im not even entirely sure its a bad thing. If these people are, for whatever reason, unable to get a hold of sleeping pills/anti anxiety medication from their doctor, but they need them ... then? I don't really see what the harm is.

The problem is that sleeping pills don't give the person proper sleep. Sleeping pills are CNS (central nervous system) depressants, focus on the word "depressant". They're addictive if taken for a long time, and they have a depressive effect.

That's why they're generally prescription-only, and it is for a good reason. If you have anxiety or depression the LAST thing you should be taking is sleeping tablets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've been up here in Tohoku for 9 years and are yet to be offered any drugs or meet any dealers. Where the hell have you guys been?!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All drugs are dangerous, but if I experienced that tsunami, I would want something to help me sleep too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Frungy, yes, perhaps, in theory it works like that. Although Im not sure that I would give a crap about whether I should be taking them or not, because they are CNS depressants, if I had seen my whole family washed away by a tsunami though...

However the fact there is no dialogue going on between the doctors and the people taking these is scary.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

kimuzukashiiiiiApr. 29, 2013 - 10:03PM JST Frungy, yes, perhaps, in theory it works like that. Although Im not sure that I would give a crap about whether I should be taking them or not, because they are CNS depressants, if I had seen my whole family washed away by a tsunami though...

This isn't a question of "in theory", this is a question of whether these drug dealers are causing harm. Taking a CNS depressant when you're suffering the symptoms of PTSD is bad news. Sure they may be able to sleep, but the sleep they're getting is low quality (sleeping tablets inhibit your ability to achieve deep sleep, which is the state in which your subconscious mind makes sense out of tragedies like these), and so when they wake up they're tired, and depressed... so they take a bigger dose... and eventually they either overdose (worst case) or suffer permanent psychological harm and addiction (best case).

If you're in a situation like this I would sincerely hope that you would seek professional medical help, not that offered by a drug dealer out of the back of a mini-van outside a pachinko parlor.

However the fact there is no dialogue going on between the doctors and the people taking these is scary.

The problem is not simple. In Japan there's a strong social stigma against admitting any sort of medical illness, which stops people (particulary the older generation) from seeking any sort of treatment or help. Add to this the overemphasis on psychiatry in Japan (summarised as "You feel like killing yourself? Oh, here's a handful of pills. Sorry, your five minutes is up. NEXT!") rather than psychology (summarised as, "You feel like killing yourself? Tell me about it for an hour and after I have a better idea what's going on we can discuss possible treatment options."). Add to that the fact that psychiatry in Japan is easily a decade or two behind Western medicine (I heard any number of "experts" advocating the trauma debriefing approach... which has been known to be unhelpful and possible harmful for at least 15 years in most Western countries), and you have a mess.

I empathise with these people grabbing for whatever relief they can find, however these drug dealers are definitely causing harm, and deserve to be arrested and thrown into prison. They have undoubtedly caused countless suicides already by dispensing the wrong medication in the wrong quantities to people who simply didn't know better than to take it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It´ s very hard to know... this. A lot of friends use alcohol to avoid reality. Its very hard, very sad... i´ m so sorry. SOsorr

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It would be better to just legalise marijuana and take the yaks out of the equation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

G seems awfully articulate and analytical for an "organized crime group affiliate".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Breaking Bad - Tohoku Drift!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites