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Madness, Murder, ‘Marijuana’

In Sagamihara, Japan last week, a 26-year-old man stabbed 19 disabled people to death —the worst mass killing in the nation's postwar history. The media focused on why Stoshi Uematsu, who had repeatedly threatened to commit such an attack, had been released from a mental hospital earlier this year. Jonathon Soble's report in the New York Times included the following:

"The authorities said Mr. Uematsu had tested positive for marijuana during his hospitalization. The relationship between cannabis use and psychosis has long been debated, but many experts believe the drug can exacerbate the symptoms of people predisposed to schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

"A Japanese television network, TBS, quoted an unidentified childhood friend of Mr. Uematsu’s as saying he continued to smoke marijuana after his release.

"Another person who knew Mr. Uematsu told the network that his personality had begun to change late in his college years. This person said that although he was usually friendly and outgoing, he began using synthetic marijuana-like drugs, covered his back in tattoos and showed bouts of aggressive behavior."

Soble of the Times did not distinguish between marijuana, which is almost impossible to obtain and very expensive in Japan, and the "synthetic marijuana-like drugs" that one acquaintance specified Uematsu used. Cannabinoid drugs made by bootlegging chemists have a markedly less benign side-effect profile than the herb; smoking them would also result in the "positive for marijuana" drug test administered at the hospital. O'Shaughnessy's ran an interview with Dr. John Huffman, "the inadvertent inventor of Spice," in 2009, but his warning hasn't penetrated the consciousness of the New York Times's reporters and editors.

It is very common to read that a given killer had been "under treatment for depression," but the reporters never drill down to determine which pharmaceutical drug(s) might have induced the flip-out. Nor do the authorities ever say that a killer had been on Prozac or "Prozac-like drugs." The experts analyze and speculate about the killer's religious or political motivation, but when it comes to pharmaceutical triggers, they're very protective of privacy —the drug manufacturer's.


  1. Jim Updegraff August 4, 2016

    Sounds like Japan has its drug zombies just like we have in the U. S.

  2. Rick Weddle August 5, 2016

    Excellent piece on the Drug Stragedy, Mr. Gardner! And the Problem on the face of it, plus the underlying, ongoing costs in cash and lives lost and ruined, is an international arrangement for cash and prizes, prezackly like you have never seen. How long to tolerate the spectacle (in which we are deeply engaged) of the Greatest Power in History, or in the Known Universe rendering its own self incapable of helping its own self? Nearly all People with any Sensibility whatever know better than this; that’s the Big Idea behind the democratic republic deal…and that’s what’s so very MISSING from the tweedle-dumb/tweedle-dumber ‘system’ that’s rolling over Earth while we mostly ponder and fidgit. [Our FourFathers: Mo, Larry, Curly, and Hamlet]

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