Mushrooms as substitute to drugs?, Gatchalian airs warning

Published December 1, 2019, 11:39 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to strictly monitor students who could be using deadly narcotic substitutes like mushrooms.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian made the call on Sunday following reports coming from the Department of Education (DepEd) that some students were hospitalized due to using psychedelic mushrooms or “magic mushrooms” as substitute for illegal drugs.

“We need to enhance drug prevention education and strict monitoring in schools,” said Gatchalian, head of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture.

“Nakakabahala itong ibinahagi ng DepEd na pagkakasakit ng mga bata dahil sa magic mushrooms at marami rin tayong dapat malaman (The DepEd’s report about students getting sick due to magic mushrooms is alarming and we need to learn more information about this),” Gatchalian said.

Last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reported that some high school students are turning to psychedelic mushrooms, which are easily accessible in rural areas.

Since the law does not forbid mushrooms, she said these mushrooms could be more dangerous, considering they have hallucinogenic properties.

“I know three high school students who were hospitalized and brought to the ICU (intensive care unit) because they ingested these wild mushrooms they got from somewhere,” Briones said during a recent press conference.

“We should be looking into this because young kids are looking for drug substitutes,” she said, adding that the mushrooms were reportedly obtained “from the hills.”

Gatchalian, for his part, said it is important for lawmakers to learn more information regarding the plant and its potential dangers and side effects on the individuals who would use it.

“Gaano na karami ang naiulat na ganitong uri ng insidente? Paano natuklasan ito ng mga mag-aaral? Saan ito laganap? At ano-ano ang naging mga epekto nito sa ating mag-aaral? (We need to know how many similar incidents have been reported? How did the students learn about this? Where is this prevalent? What are the effects of this alternative drug to students?” Gatchalian pointed out.

“Kung alam natin ang mga detalyeng ito mas madali para sa ating mag-isip at magpatupad ng mga solusyon para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng kabataan, (If we know about these details we can easily come up and implement solutions to ensure the security of our students,” the senator stressed.

Gatchalian explained that psychedelic mushrooms are known to contain psilocybin, a substance that falls under Schedule I of the United Nations’ Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971, which the Philippines ratified in 1974.

According to the lawmaker, the drugs and substances that fall under Schedule I are not used for medication and have a high potential for abuse. Among the undesired acute effects of psilocybin are muscle weakness, drowsiness, lack of coordination and fatal poisoning.

But despite the risks associated with psilocybin mushrooms, some studies suggest that psilocybin may provide therapeutic benefits supporting its development as a new drug.

He said the Global Drug Survey 2019, which generated data from more than 120,000 people in 30 countries, found that only 0.4 percent of participants reported seeking medical treatment after using “magic mushrooms.”

“Ang mahalaga sa puntong ito ay ma-protektahan natin ang kabataan mula sa panganib na maaaring idulot ng mga magic mushrooms na ito (At this point, what is important is to protect our youth from the potential dangers and side effect of this magic mushrooms),” Gatchalian said.

For now, he said the DepEd should review their drug prevention education program and make it more stringent.

“Ngayong sinusuri ng DepEd ang kanilang preventive education program, mahalagang masuri kung paano ba ito tatalakayin sa mas mabisang paraan para manatiling ligtas ang ating mga mag-aaral, (Now that the DepEd is reviewing their preventive education program, it’s important to check how they can discuss this effectively to ensure that our students are safe),” Gatchalian said.

The DepEd started providing drug prevention education in 2016 specifically to those in Grade 3 or aged nine when the Duterte administration took over, but it was only last year that the agency started rolling out detailed lesson plans as part of its efforts to integrate drug prevention education in the curriculum.

According to Briones, the lesson plans contain a detailed description of the steps on how teachers can teach the topic focusing on life skills.

“The DepEd has been a strong advocate of demand reduction of dangerous substances and educating about the health and social consequences of drug abuse,” Briones had said.

 
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Mushrooms as substitute to drugs?, Gatchalian airs warning

Published December 1, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to strictly monitor students who could be using deadly narcotic substitutes like mushrooms.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian made the call on Sunday following reports coming from the Department of Education (DepEd) that some students were hospitalized due to using psychedelic mushrooms or “magic mushrooms” as substitute for illegal drugs.

“We need to enhance drug prevention education and strict monitoring in schools,” said Gatchalian, head of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture.

“Nakakabahala itong ibinahagi ng DepEd na pagkakasakit ng mga bata dahil sa magic mushrooms at marami rin tayong dapat malaman (The DepEd’s report about students getting sick due to magic mushrooms is alarming and we need to learn more information about this),” Gatchalian said.

Last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reported that some high school students are turning to psychedelic mushrooms, which are easily accessible in rural areas.

Since the law does not forbid mushrooms, she said these mushrooms could be more dangerous, considering they have hallucinogenic properties.

“I know three high school students who were hospitalized and brought to the ICU (intensive care unit) because they ingested these wild mushrooms they got from somewhere,” Briones said during a recent press conference.

“We should be looking into this because young kids are looking for drug substitutes,” she said, adding that the mushrooms were reportedly obtained “from the hills.”

Gatchalian, for his part, said it is important for lawmakers to learn more information regarding the plant and its potential dangers and side effects on the individuals who would use it.

“Gaano na karami ang naiulat na ganitong uri ng insidente? Paano natuklasan ito ng mga mag-aaral? Saan ito laganap? At ano-ano ang naging mga epekto nito sa ating mag-aaral? (We need to know how many similar incidents have been reported? How did the students learn about this? Where is this prevalent? What are the effects of this alternative drug to students?” Gatchalian pointed out.

“Kung alam natin ang mga detalyeng ito mas madali para sa ating mag-isip at magpatupad ng mga solusyon para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng kabataan, (If we know about these details we can easily come up and implement solutions to ensure the security of our students,” the senator stressed.

Gatchalian explained that psychedelic mushrooms are known to contain psilocybin, a substance that falls under Schedule I of the United Nations’ Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971, which the Philippines ratified in 1974.

According to the lawmaker, the drugs and substances that fall under Schedule I are not used for medication and have a high potential for abuse. Among the undesired acute effects of psilocybin are muscle weakness, drowsiness, lack of coordination and fatal poisoning.

But despite the risks associated with psilocybin mushrooms, some studies suggest that psilocybin may provide therapeutic benefits supporting its development as a new drug.

He said the Global Drug Survey 2019, which generated data from more than 120,000 people in 30 countries, found that only 0.4 percent of participants reported seeking medical treatment after using “magic mushrooms.”

“Ang mahalaga sa puntong ito ay ma-protektahan natin ang kabataan mula sa panganib na maaaring idulot ng mga magic mushrooms na ito (At this point, what is important is to protect our youth from the potential dangers and side effect of this magic mushrooms),” Gatchalian said.

For now, he said the DepEd should review their drug prevention education program and make it more stringent.

“Ngayong sinusuri ng DepEd ang kanilang preventive education program, mahalagang masuri kung paano ba ito tatalakayin sa mas mabisang paraan para manatiling ligtas ang ating mga mag-aaral, (Now that the DepEd is reviewing their preventive education program, it’s important to check how they can discuss this effectively to ensure that our students are safe),” Gatchalian said.

The DepEd started providing drug prevention education in 2016 specifically to those in Grade 3 or aged nine when the Duterte administration took over, but it was only last year that the agency started rolling out detailed lesson plans as part of its efforts to integrate drug prevention education in the curriculum.

According to Briones, the lesson plans contain a detailed description of the steps on how teachers can teach the topic focusing on life skills.

“The DepEd has been a strong advocate of demand reduction of dangerous substances and educating about the health and social consequences of drug abuse,” Briones had said.

 
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