Drug abuse in Japan began after World War II and has been characterized by three epidemics of methamphetamine abuse; in addition, solvent abuse has been prominent for a long time. Since 1995, with the beginning of the third epidemic of methamphetamine abuse, drug abuse or dependence in Japan changed, with a marked decrease in solvent abuse, stabilization of methamphetamine abuse, an increase in the abuse of such drugs as cannabis or 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (which do not have high potential of causing drug-induced psychosis), and the emergence of designer drugs. Furthermore, the abuse of medical drugs such as Ritalin became a major issue in 2007.

These changes reveal an increase in the abuse of drugs that do not as easily produce a psychotic state, underlain with a shift from personal conduct that leads to arrest to conduct that does not. Japan, therefore, needs to deal with drug abuse and dependence using not only a medical model, but also a criminal model as well.

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