Medicine: Sayonara Heroin

Only a decade ago, a heroin epidemic threatened Japan. An estimated 40,000 addicts provided a market for the growing traffic in hard drugs, and some users brazenly mainlined on street corners in such areas as Yokohama s Kogane-cho (Gold Town). Today, says Dr. Yoshio Ishikawa of the Sengayaen mental hospital, heroin addiction "has become a subject without a living example for study, like smallpox," and medical students may finish their entire education without seeing an actual addict. Police and narcotics agents face the same triumphant scarcity.

Heroin use in Japan has been virtually eliminated...

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