SOFT - TIAFT 1998 Poster Session 4 Friday October 9, 1998

Ikuo Yamamotoa, Kazuhito Wantanabea, Noriko Tsunodab, Taizo Naganob, Takemi Yoshidac and Yukio Kuroiwad

a. Department of Hygienic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokuriku, University, Kanazawa 920-1181;
b. National Research Institute of Police Science, Tokyo 102-0075;
c. Department of Biochemical Toxicology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Showa University, Tokyo 142-8555;
d. Fuji Biomedix, Komosu, Saitama 365-0039, Japan

The prevalence of chemical poisoning and drug abuse in Japan was studied. On the basis of the annual reports of the Japanese National Research Institute of Police Science, there were 3,195 case reports in 1996. Carbon monoxide poisoning had the highest incidence about 66% of total cases, followed by pesticides (22%) and drugs (7. 0%). The data indicated that pesticide poisoning tended to decrease with concomitant decrease in paraquat poisoning in Japan. The number of paraquat poisoning cases (281) in 1996 was about one half of that (479 cases) in 1993. In contrast, the number of drug poisoning including sedative hypnotics gradually increased (about 40%) over the past 5 years. Other cases of poisoning involved alkaloids and volatile substances including propane, thinner and cyanides. Poisoning which are unique to Japan are tetrodotoxin poisonings from eating globefish.

In 1996, persons arrested for illegal use of stimulants (mainly methamphetamine), marijuana and narcotics were 17,101, 1,481 and 444, respectively. The problem of stimulant abuse has occurred in our country since World War II as three peaks in 1945, 1980 and 1996. In the past decade, gradual increases in marijuana abuse were observed, and smuggling of marijuana resin significantly increased. From 1996, there was a dramatic rise in illegal use of LSD. In all types of drug abuse, there were marked increases in illegal use of drugs by foreigners. The problem has come to be as serious as in other countries.

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