Thursday, October 13, 2005

Retail News


The Wembley and Kingsbury Times recently reported that a shopkeeper was fined nearly £500 and ordered to pay costs of £927.50 after a child was sold a can of cigarette lighter refill containing butane. Officers from Brent and Harrow Trading standards had used a volunteer for a routine check which showed the sale was complete d without questioning.

In a report from the Ashbuy Times Leicetershire Trading Standards officers werdisappointeded at the results of an test purchasing campaign buying cigarettes alcohol and refills containing butane gas where nine sales being made to youngsters. However neither of the two vendors tested for the sale of butane lighter refills sold to the youngsters.

This month further retail campaigns were reported in Conwy, South Gloucestershire, and the Isle of Man.

Coroner demands officials act on petrol sniffing


ABC News have recently been reporting upon a range of initiatives to address pertol sniffing in the Northern Territories. The following is an extract from one such article.

The Northern Territory coroner has called for governments around Australia to implement the recommendations of several coronial inquests into petrol sniffing deaths.

The coroner has handed down his findings into three petrol sniffing deaths in central Australia last year.

Coroner Greg Cavanagh said he could not disagree with the use of the word pathetic to describe government efforts to deal with petrol sniffing.

Mr Cavanagh called on the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments to immediately establish treatment and rehabilitation services for petrol sniffers in central Australia.

He said several coronial inquests had made the same recommendation since 1998 but the Territory Government had only recently started to act on the advice. He also recommended the Federal Government subsidise a full roll-out of non-sniffable Opal fuel throughout the central desert region.

Blair McFarland works with petrol sniffers for the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service.
He has welcomed the coroner's recommendations and says governments should not drag their heels implementing them.

"Everybody knows what to do and it's been done occasionally in patches," he said.
"We know what to do and we know what works, so it's just a matter of trying to make sure that the resources are there to keep it happening."

Wellington's coroner is highlighting the importance of drug prevention education in schools.


It follows the deaths of six people between the ages of 15 and 27, who inhaled butane gas or solvents. Coroner Gary Evans has made a raft of recommendations calling on the government to set up a national public education campaign and implement a new drug policy. Welltrust executive officer Pauline Gardiner says at the moment there is too much emphasis on harm minimisation.

She says there is a need to ensure that programmes in schools, if any, are of quality and adequately funded. There are calls for waves of advertising targeting drug and solvent abuse. It follows comments from Wellington's Coroner at the inquest into the deaths of six young people who had inhaled solvents.

Director of the Medical Research Institute Dr Richard Beasley says government departments are not treating the issue seriously enough. He says we need an integrated policy across all departments on policing, education, health, child and family welfare and research. He also wants to see an advertising campaign against drugs, similar to those we have seen targeting tobacco and alcohol.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Statistics from the Northern Ireland Drug Misuse Database: 1


The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have released a new bulletin summarising information on people presenting to services with problem drug misuse . It is the fourth bulletin reporting on information collected through the Northern Ireland Drug Misuse Database (DMD), which was established in April 2000 and which collects detailed data, including information on drugs misused and injecting behaviour, on those presenting for treatment.

Women (4%) were four times as likely as men (1%) to report the use of solvents.

There were also differences by age: cannabis and solvent use was most common amongst young people aged 15 or less – accounting for 85% and 11% of users in this age group respectively.

There were substantial differences in age of first use for different drugs. The lowest average age of first use was for other hallucinogens (11 years), although it should be noted that this is based on a single user. The next lowest average was solvents (just under 13 years) followed by Cannabis (15 years), ecstasy (17 years) and amphetamines (19 years). The average age of first use of both crack and heroin was 21 years. Cocaine and other stimulants had similar average
ages of first use (both 22 years), whilst other opiates (26), benzodiazepines (27), codeine and paracetamol combinations (29) and methadone (29) tended to be used for the first time at later ages.

Click here to link to the full report.

Kirklees - Resolve Not to Get Involved in Solvent Abuse


Kirklees Police and partner agencies are urging young people not to get involved in solvent abuse.

Officers discovered a ‘den’ in the Dewsbury area recently with numerous empty gas refills, disposable lighters and aerosols littering the floor. There was also some discarded drug paraphernalia.

“We did find a 15 year old boy under the influence of solvents,” said Sgt Darren Brown of Dewsbury Neighbourhood Policing Team. “ He was taken home and was provided with information about how to get help. He was introduced to an organisation called ‘Drug Sense’ who have worked with him successfully to cure his addiction.”

“Retailers who sell things such as lighter fluid to people under the age of 18 are committing an offence,” said Andrew Bibby of West Yorkshire Trading Standards. “All staff should be aware of this - where evidence exists we will prosecute.”

Click here to link to the full artcicle

Who has forgotten about VSA?: An overview of volatile substance abuse.


Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) gets a fraction of the attention of illegal drugs, yet it results in more deaths of young people aged 10-16 than all illicit drugs. Volatile substances are legally available and easily accessible even to very young children.

Click here to link with the paper. McVey J. Liverpool John Moores University. Centre for Public Health.Liverpool: Liverpool John Moores University, From: Drug Prevention: 3, September, 2005. p.31-33.

North East -Volatile Solvent Abuse Event


An awareness conference held in Bouldon, in the North East was a great success. The event provided a briefing for DAT coordinator's and key staff in the region about the new VSA Framework and included speakers from the Department of Health, St Georges Hospital, Medical School and Re-Solv.

Re-Solv, thanks to funding by Northern Rock Foundation, distributed materials for all the Drug Action Teams in the North East, a region, that has, since 1971 to 2003 there were 135 deaths from volatile substance abuse, many of them youngsters.

According to St GeorgeÂ’s Annual Report, it has been shown that since 1994 an average standardised mortality ratio for the North East is 62% higher than the average for the UK.

Warren Hawksley says:

“As Director of Re-Solv I have hoped for a long time that we could develop our work in the North East. It seems to be the area in the UK most effected by Volatile Substance Abuse and it is thanks to Northern Rock Foundation that this campaign has been launched. I also welcome the active concern shown by the Regional Government of the North East”.

Petrol sniffing research


The following grant has been awarded to Northen Territories researchers in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding schemes. Further information on the successful recipients is available on the NHMRC website.

Dr Sheree Cairney: Repair of brain damage caused by petrol sniffingAmount awarded - $625,000

Dr Sheree Cairney and her team will investigate brain damage associated with sniffing petrol along with the brain's ability to repair itself in those who have stopped sniffing petrol. These assessments will be measured against earlier assessments of the same people taken some eight years ago.This study will provide important knowledge about the process of how petrol sniffing interacts with the brain and behaviour, as well as the long term impact after petrol sniffing has ceased.