National

Japanese junior high school students slightly more open to marijuana use, survey suggests

Kyodo

Junior high school students have become slightly more open to the use of marijuana, in part due to the influence of the internet, an official survey suggests.

In the latest biennial survey by the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1.9 percent of about 70,000 junior high school students polled said they either don’t mind marijuana use at all or don’t mind as long as the amount being used is low, up from 1.5 percent in 2016.

While the number of juvenile cases regarding marijuana use is on the rise in Japan, 0.3 percent of the respondents said they had tried illegal drugs, including stimulants. That percentage remains unchanged from the previous survey.

Takuya Shimane, a researcher at the center who was in charge of the survey, said increased use of the internet is one of the biggest factors behind young people becoming more receptive to illegal drugs and that it is important to raise awareness about the problems associated with their use.

“There is no doubting that they are influenced by watching videos of drug use and developments abroad decriminalizing marijuana,” Shimane said.

The survey, the 12th of its kind, was conducted from September to December 2018, covering 183 schools across the country.

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