UP pioneers study, seek cure for 'rugby' abuse


Posted at Apr 24 2023 06:17 PM

Dr. Rohani Cena-Navarro
Dr. Rohani Cena-Navarro

MANILA -- The University of the Philippines (UP) has embarked on a mission to seek cures for those suffering from solvent abuse, or what some may call as "rugby boys and girls."

UP said it is conducting the "first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary study" to further explain the chemical, physical, and psychological impacts of solvent abuse on the country's adolescents.

"Attempts to treat toulene or 'rugby' addiction have been largely unsuccessful due to severe withdrawal and craving symptoms that trigger relapse," Dr. Rohani Cena-Navarro of the UP Manila-National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a press statement.

"What is needed to help adolescents overcome their addictions are new treatments that reduce toulene withdrawal and craving," she added.

Cena-Navarro added that while rodent models have long been used to develop pharmacological treatments for other addictive drugs, no such models have been developed for rugby.

UP said this was because experimental treatments for toulene have not been deeply investigated anywhere else in the world because inhalant abuse is not as rampant in more developed countries.

The study, a first-of-its-kind, is a three-year research program spearheaded by the NIH, National Center for Mental Health, Philippine General Hospital, UP College of Medicine, and UP Diliman College of Science Institute of Chemistry.

It is also supervised by world-renowned neurobehavioral scientist Dr. Gregory Quirk of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.

The study was also supported by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.