Education ministry draws up reference guide on gambling addiction for Japan's schoolteachers


The education ministry has come up with reference documents for high school teachers to guide them in preventing addiction to gambling and other activities and substances.

The documents, which are in line with new guidelines on the school curriculum to be used from fiscal 2022, are intended to improve teachers’ understanding of addictions by detailing the factors that cause them.

Under the curriculum guidelines, physical education classes will address prevention of and recovery from mental diseases.

The instruction manual for the guidelines cites addiction as a mental disease. It calls for teaching students that, in addition to addictions to substances including alcohol and drugs, excessive participation in gambling and other activities is at risk of becoming an addiction behavior and adversely affecting people’s daily lives.

The reference documents say the repeated use of drugs and other substances tends to lead to increases in the amounts and frequencies of such use, causing problems with health and daily living. Behavioral addicts, such as gambling addicts, cannot abandon their habitual practices at will, the documentation warns.

With the help of illustrations, the documents explain the mechanisms of the brain, such as how the secretion of dopamine excites the central nervous system and causes pleasing sensations and euphoria.

The documents also emphasize that addictions must be treated at specialist medical institutions.

The creation of the reference documentation was called for in the government’s basic policy on measures to address gambling addictions, which was adopted in April.

Later in fiscal 2019, the education ministry plans to draw up educational documents for children that correspond to their development stages, in an effort to provide better education, officials said.