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U.S. woman arrested for shipping pills for ADD released from Japan jail

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PORTLAND, Ore. >> A young Oregon woman jailed in Japan because she shipped in a medication containing amphetamine has been released from a Japanese detention center, a U.S. senator said Monday night.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon announced Carrie Russell’s release.

“I’m thrilled that common sense has won the day and that Carrie is being released to her family,” Wyden said in a statement.

He thanked U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her staff for working with his office and Japanese counterparts to secure the release.

Japanese authorities took the 26-year-old woman into custody on Feb. 20 after she shipped herself the medication Adderall as part of her prescribed treatment for attention deficit disorder.

Her family has sent a letter of apology to the government of Japan, saying nobody meant to break Japanese law, Wyden’s statement said. Japan has strict drug laws and cracks down on amphetamines.

Family members in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro earlier told the Oregonian newspaper that Russell was in Tokyo getting ready to take a job teaching English when she was detained.

Her mother, a doctor, shipped Russell a refill for three months in South Korea, and Russell in turn shipped the medicine to Japan after she got the job.

A U.S. consular official and a lawyer hired by the family visited Russell at a women’s detention center in Nagoya. They told the family that Russell had been held in solitary confinement and subjected to numerous interrogations.

Russell’s stepfather, Portland lawyer Loren Podwill, has said the young woman, adopted at infancy from a Guatemalan birth mother, was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder at 7 and has dedicated herself to teaching. He cited her work during college summers in Japan and Germany teaching children of military personnel and the last two years teaching English in South Korea.

No one had intended to ignore or break the law, he said.

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