2009年11月25日 星期三

Druggings put spotlight on sleeping pill sales

Druggings put spotlight on sleeping pill sales




A recent spate of suspicious deaths linked to sleeping pills has underscored the alarming ease with which the prescription drugs are readily available through illegal channels.

Though the sedative is regulated by law, it can be easily bought at any one of countless sites across the online "black market."

Doctors are also inclined to prescribe sleeping pills without questioning whether patients really need them.

Several recent cases have demonstrated that the widely available drug can just as easily be put to sinister use.

In August, a 41-year-old real estate broker was arrested in Sakai after he allegedly used sleeping pills in juice to drug and sexually assault a woman in her 20s.

Last December, a 68-year-old woman in Yamagata Prefecture allegedly sedated her husband, 65, and 9-year-old granddaughter by putting sleeping pills in their miso soup. She then allegedly attempted to strangle and stab both of them. Her granddaughter died in the attack.

But it was five recent deaths in two high-profile cases that focused intense public scrutiny on the issue.

In October, it was reported that traces of sleeping pills were found in the bodies of two male acquaintances of a 34-year-old Tokyo woman, who has been indicted for fraud in separate cases.

The first, an 80-year-old man, was killed in a fire in Chiba Prefecture in May. The second, a 41-year-old, was found dead in a car in Saitama Prefecture in August.

The substances detected in their bodies matched the sleeping pills the woman had been prescribed at a Tokyo clinic. According to her doctor, the woman asked for three types of sleeping pills, including triazolam.

In November, police sources said traces of sleeping pills found in the bodies of three male acquaintances of a 35-year-old Tottori Prefecture woman, who was arrested on suspicion of fraud, were likely identical.

Sites that illegally sell sleeping pills and other psychotropic drugs abound on the Internet. Triazolam, for instance, is sold for 2,000 yen to 3,000 yen per sheet of 10 pills--much more than when bought at a pharmacy with a prescription.

Though police around the country have been cracking down on illegal trading, it has been a cat-and-mouse game.

In 2007, 92 billion yen worth of hypnotic sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs were shipped to the domestic market by Japanese pharmaceutical companies, a 1.4-fold increase from 10 years before.

Pharmacies are cited as a major source of drugs traded on the Internet. According to the health ministry, criminals frequently steal psychotropic drugs from pharmacies or use fake or photocopied prescriptions to obtain them.

In Obu, Aichi Prefecture, a thief stole 100 triazolam pills from a drug store in August.

In May 2008, a former dentist was given a prison term for illegally obtaining Ritalin, which is methylphenidate hydrochloride, at a drug store in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture.

According to the Japan Pharmaceutical Association, Tokyo and other prefectures have introduced a system by which pharmacies, upon discovering fake prescriptions, notify police or public health centers in an effort to warn other pharmacies.

But sleeping pills are becoming easier to get.

Since April 2008, doctors have been able to prescribe patients up to 30 days' worth of triazolam and 14 other kinds of sleeping pills per visit, up from 14 days.

A health ministry official said the government cannot enforce strict regulations in consideration for patients who genuinely need medicine.(IHT/Asahi: November 26,2009)

2009年11月14日 星期六


社会 | 2009.11.13




: 嗯,这很难说,因为我们总会有一些日子感觉自己"状态很糟"。这是我们每个人在日常生活中都能感受到的。但是对抑郁症也有可以用来判断的症状,比如注意力 和专心程度的降低。自我评价、自信心降低,人可能感觉生活没有了意义,有负疚感,可能对未来的前景感到很悲观。也会表现出失眠,睡眠不足,早晨起来会感到 沮丧,可能没有食欲,食欲降低。还有一个基本症状,就是会出现自杀的念头。会想伤害自己,离开现在的生活。这也是疾病带来的,是抑郁的七个基本症状之一。




奥贝尔:如果能够准确的知道这一点,那么就好了。人们相信,在所有的精神科疾病中,都存在某个敏感的压力模式,这是可能引起疾病的脆弱环节。我们每 个人都可能得这样的病。通过研究可以知道,一个主要原因是在生物学的层面上,缺少一种血液中的复合胺,也就是缺少能带来喜悦的荷尔蒙,正常情况下人体内能 自然的合成这种东西。这种荷尔蒙无法合成,或者合成的量不够,就可能导致人陷入消极的阶段,然后大部分情况下是某一个诱发因素,一个不好的情况出现了:与 合作伙伴的冲突、一个亲人的死亡,失去了工作岗位,任何一个事件都可能触发抑郁。


奥 贝尔:治疗肯定有一方面是要补充这种血清素。今天已经有了现代的抗抑郁的药物。人们可以避免神经缝隙对血清素的重新吸收,也就是让内部能产生更多的血清 素。可以通过其他的机制影响血清素,使其含量向积极的方面发展。然后当然是进行心理治疗谈话,什么影响了我,什么成为打击我的因素,我能对我的外部环境做 什么样的改变,调整我的观念,我怎么样去处理压力,我怎样做能够避免这样的压力,我能不能改变外部的条件,还有我能否改变自己来适应这个环境?也就是说, 通过心理教育来对抗疾病也很有作用。


奥 贝尔:我也有这样的看法。男人总是要面临这样的环境,根据传统的习惯,他们是家庭的支柱,他们是外界关注的焦点,他们强壮而精力充沛。我想许多男人也有抑 郁症,但是他们不愿意承认,因为这会让他们不符合这样的形象。许多人借酒来掩饰这一点,这在抑郁症中很常见,人们却完全意识不到这一点,这与社会形势也有 关系。我也曾经说过,抑郁症通常还不被看做是疾病。很难想象当人们坐在候诊室里,一个人说:"我有心肌梗塞,有两根心脏导管在我体内。"然后又来了一个人 说:"我战胜了前列腺癌,我做了手术。"另一个人却说:"我克服了我的抑郁症"或者"我现在已经能控制住我的心理了",这在德国始终都是不可能发生的。心 理疾病基本上还是一个禁忌的话题,我们经历过很多这样的事情,心理学联合会已经进行了很多旨在改变这种羞耻感的活动,因为这是一种被烙上羞耻印记的,受到 歧视的病症。

作者:Daphne Grathwohl / 子江