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Drugs being offered to junior high students

Date Posted: 2009-05-14

The number is not yet extreme, but Okinawa Prefecture officials are concerned that drug availability has filtered down to junior high school students on the island.

The arrest of a high school student on marijuana possession charges last October raised concerns with the Prefecture Board of Education that drugs might be being offered to even younger students. The Board conducted a survey of its 47,468 junior high school students in the prefecture, asking if they had used or been offered marijuana or other illegal drugs.

The number admitting using or being offered drugs was 0.3% of the student population, 131 students, but it was enough to send concerns rippling through the Board. Masahachiro Kin, the Prefecture Board of Education chairman, said he was “so shocked that marijuana is coming to junior high school students.” He said he’s afraid a worsening situation is coming, noting that an additional 234 students admitted they had seen fellow students using illegal drugs.

The drug use filtering down to junior high school is leading the Prefecture to develop ways to educate students about drugs, and how dangerous they are. Kin says “we’ve made a manual for preventing drug use, and have also made a manual for teachers.” A school board member said it “looked the devil hands of drugs” are working their way into the lives of young students, and called on parents and the community to team up to fight drugs.

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