Former Buyer Reveals Heart-Stopping Reality of Prescription Drug Smuggling Business | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Buyer Reveals Heart-Stopping Reality of Prescription Drug Smuggling Business

The "Oyaku-Mogugugu" phenomenon, a dark behind the overdose epidemic, was selling illegally obtained medicines to more than 900 customers on social networking sites.

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ODs are popular in Kabukicho, especially among minors, and half of Mr. A’s customers were also young people.

“The lethal dose of the sleeping drug ‘Labona’ is estimated to be around 20 tablets. Despite this, customers would plead, ‘I want all 200 tablets in stock.’ This is almost certainly a fatal amount, causing the heart to stop. When asked about the purpose, they would say, ‘Because I want to commit suicide.’ At that time, such orders were coming in constantly.”

In late February, Mr. A (in his 30s), reflecting on the situation during an interview in Tokyo, recounted this.

Currently, there’s a rapid spread of drug overdoses, primarily among young people. Since last year, there’s been a dangerous trend in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho area where people combine over-the-counter cough medicine “Bron” with alcohol to experience a state of intoxication. As a result, there have been numerous cases of emergency transports, leading the Metropolitan Police Department to launch a large-scale crackdown.


However, what’s even more concerning is overdosing on prescription drugs. On social media, along with the hashtag “meds munching,” illicit sales of prescription drugs are rampant. Mr. A has been involved in buying and selling for a few years now.


“Overdosing on prescription drugs is referred to as the meds munching community. At that time, I was also regularly using prescription drugs for overdosing purposes, and I just wanted money desperately. I had knowledge of drugs, and I thought prescription drugs would definitely be profitable, so I created an account on X and started buying and selling.”


Orders didn’t stop after opening the account, and within a few months, he had over 300 customers.


“As for the trading method, first, I’d post a list of drugs with slang terms like ‘meds munching’ to recruit customers. If I received a DM, I’d guide them to Telegram to discuss details like quantity and price. Payment was either bank transfer or PayPal. Once I confirmed the payment, I’d pack the ordered drugs into a letter pack and send them to the specified address. That’s how the transactions were completed. The majority of buyers were purchasing for overdosing purposes. There were also a certain number of suicide candidates, but the more potent the drug, the more I restricted sales.”


Originally, prescription drugs couldn’t be obtained without a doctor’s prescription. How did Mr. A manage to acquire them?


“At first, I’d visit multiple clinics in a day to obtain them, but eventually, I couldn’t keep up with the stock, so I started buying sleep aids like ‘Silese’ and ‘IsoMital’ on social media. Some sellers even requested purchases of entire boxes that ordinary people couldn’t even access. It’s clear they were medical professionals.”

At its peak, the number of customers exceeded 900, and income amounted to over 5 million yen per month. Mr. A, who speaks of this time without guilt, reached a turning point one day when he decided to withdraw from being a buyer.

“Continuing personal unhappiness led me to contemplate suicide, and I ended up consuming around 30 tablets of Labona that I had stored as inventory. By chance, I was discovered by an acquaintance and promptly taken to the hospital. Fortunately, I was revived at the hospital, but it was then that I realized, ‘What kind of drugs was I selling?’

As a buyer of prescription drugs, I was providing opportunities for people to die. It’s truly shameful that I couldn’t realize the danger until I was on the verge of death myself, but I decided to undergo this interview because I want to raise awareness about this dangerous reality.”

Since the beginning of this year, there has been a sharp increase in arrests related to illegal sales of pharmaceuticals. Unauthorized sale of pharmaceuticals constitutes a violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 3 million yen, or both. As the Metropolitan Police Department launches a full-fledged investigation, Mr. A once again warns of the dangers of buying and selling prescription drugs.

“Every day on social media, large quantities of prescription drugs are bought and sold, and people who have overdosed or attempted suicide using them are being transported to hospitals. If we don’t impose stricter penalties as soon as possible, the situation will only worsen. The current state where ‘deadly poisons’ that can easily kill people are being sold without hesitation is far too dangerous.”

Deadly poisons that can easily kill people. Mr. A’s warning about the illegal sale of prescription drugs is something that one must absolutely avoid getting involved in.

A portion of Mr. A’s stock of prescription drugs that he was buying through social networking sites at about half the price he was selling them to his customers.
If you search for “mogogu” on X, you will see posts from accounts attempting to lure you into the trade.
A Telegram screen where prescription drugs are being traded. Sellers are referred to as push and buyers as pull.

From the March 22, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Akira Tsuchioka (Nonfiction writer) PHOTO Takero Yui

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