Carrie Russell, a 26-year-old English teacher, was arrested on Feb. 20 while eating dinner with friends at a Nagoya restaurant. Authorities say they discovered the pills—which are illegal in Japan—hidden inside an old Tylenol bottle.
Russell, who was reportedly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder at age 7, was living in South Korea when her mom mailed the prescription refill. But authorities say she broke the law when she accepted a new job and shipped the unmarked pill bottle in her belongings to Japan, where the stimulants have been outlawed since the 1950s.
First, as a physician who often prescribes Adderall, she routinely advises patients to consider keeping pills in unmarked containers because prescription bottles attract burglars, due to the substance's high street value. She advises against carrying the medication in a car or purse, and to consider keeping it in a locked safe.
Second, knowing of the stigma in Japan concerning mental disorders, she didn't want Carrie Russell's reputation to suffer in case someone opening her household shipments noticed the medication.
"My repackaging [in the Tylenol container] was not an attempt to break or circumvent the law," Jill Russell wrote in a sworn affidavit sent Feb. 25 to Japanese police. "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."
Russell is reportedly facing several years in prison over the medication. Oregon Live reports U.S. diplomats had a hard time locating her because Japanese authorities neglected to notify the American embassy of her arrest.
Despite multiple efforts, American envoys have so far been unable to secure her release from the detention center