All shops selling ‘legal’ herbs on Okinawa shut
The Prefectural Office, Drug Enforcement Okinawa Branch of the Prefectural Police and Kyushu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare declared on Dec 15th that all shops and Internet stores on Okinawa that had sold semi-legal herbal drugs that the police authorities refer to as ‘danger drugs’ have been closed.
As of the end of January 2012, the authorities counted 33 local dealers including Internet stores, which was the second highest number in all prefectures of Japan following Tokyo. The prefectural organizations including the police conducted on-site investigations and gave “administrative guidance” to dealers.
As a result, the number of dealers decreased to three by last summer through September, it is now confirmed that all of the shops ended the business by the end of November.
On the other hand, 33 people were taken by ambulance to a hospital in emergency suspected of being related to such drugs as of the end of November. That is 14 cases more than the whole last year. According to the Kyushu Regional Health and Welfare Bureau, about 90 % of the emergency cases were male with 15 of them being young men in their 20’s.
Cases deemed to be serious, like persons losing consciousness, numbered 17 over the last four years.