There is no end in sight to incidents caused by the use of quasi-legal drugs — now labeled by police as "kiken" (dangerous) drugs. The number of traffic accidents involving users of such drugs continues to increase. Seventy-four people died due to the use of such drugs in the first nine months of this year — a sharp increase from previous years. The number of people who have used such drugs at least once is estimated to have reached 400,000.

Unfortunately revisions of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law cannot effectively reduce their use because the regulations for them are looser than for narcotics, marijuana and stimulant drugs, which are controlled by specific laws. Both the national and local governments need to take every possible step — in addition to legislative action — to curb the use of the dangerous drugs. Such steps should include enlightening people about the serious health damage from using such drugs and improving treatments for habitual users.

Most of these drugs are known as "herbs" — dried vegetation laced with chemicals. When they are smoked like tobacco, they can cause hallucinations, agitation, ecstasy and dulled senses, and can cause convulsions and even death from acute poisoning.