• Kyodo

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Only 13 percent of about 6,000 junior high and high school students in and around Tokyo think the use of “dappo habu” (quasi-legal drugs) is a matter of individual freedom, a poll showed Tuesday.

Quasi-legal drugs are substances that are chemically similar in composition to banned narcotics but technically legal at present, and the abuse of such drugs among young people has become a social issue.

In the Japan Drug Measurement Association poll, 13.2 percent of the respondents said it is up to individuals to decide whether to use those drugs, while 0.6 percent, or 37 respondents, said they had tried them.

Nao Mazaki, an association official, pointed to the low awareness on how quasi-legal drugs can harm one’s health, and stressed the urgent need for the central and local governments to step up programs to disseminate information about them.

The association, the Japan branch of the U.S.-based Foundation for a Drug-Free World, carried out the survey between September and December at six high schools and 11 junior high schools in Tokyo as well as in Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures. A total of 6,150 students, or 3,074 at high schools and 3,076 at junior high schools, responded.

In the multiple-reply survey, 75.4 percent said it is bad to possess or use these quasi-legal drugs, 5.7 percent said their use is not bad if not banned, while 7.1 percent said it is bad to use them but not to possess them.

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