Adderall user jailed in Japan on smuggling charge

Carrie Russel was arrested after she shipped her prescription Adderall to her Nagoya, Japan, address.

Ed Adamczyk
An example of the medication Adderall. CC/ Seppi333
An example of the medication Adderall. CC/ Seppi333

TOKYO, March 2 (UPI) -- An American woman remains in a Japanese jail for shipping her prescribed attention-deficit disorder medication to Japan, where she traveled to teach.

Carrie Russell, 26, was arrested in a Tokyo restaurant Feb. 20 and jailed for drug smuggling, after her mother, an Oregon physician, mailed a three-month supply of the medication Adderall to South Korea, where her daughter was living. The arrest came after Russell shipped the medication to Nagoya, Japan, where she was about to begin a teaching career.


Russell was taken to a women's detention center outside Nagoya, 275 miles from Tokyo, and the U.S. Embassy was not notified of the arrest by Japan's National Police agency, the typical procedure for an arrested American citizen, The Oregonian reported.

Her mother, Jill Russell, said she prescribed Adderall when her daughter was 7, and regularly mailed the medication to South Korea without incident. She said the Adderall was sent in a used Tylenol bottle, instead of its prescription bottle, to fool potential thieves. "My repackaging was not an attempt to break or circumvent the law. It was intended to preserve Carrie's privacy and dignity around a sensitive issue regarding medication to treat a disorder which falls under the area of mental health," Jill Russell said in a sworn affidavit to Japanese police, days after the arrest.

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Her daughter remains in jail on suspicion of smuggling amphetamines into Japan, where importation of any medicine containing methamphetamine or amphetamine is illegal. Adderall, however, is commonly prescribed in the United States.

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici were working to secure Russell's release.

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