Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Abuse of gas lighter fuel is now more common than glue-sniffingGlue-sniffing and other forms of solvent abuse are being overlooked in the fight against drugs, according to a new report.
The authors said the problem, which was discussed at length in the 1970s and 1980s, was now poorly understood among professionals and the public.
They claimed more consultative work with former solvent abusers was needed.
The Scottish Executive, which commissioned the report, said it was committed to tackling the problem.
In the 10 years to 2004, there were 78 deaths linked to volatile substance abuse in Scotland (VSA).
David Shewan, from Glasgow Caledonian University, and Kate Skellington Orr, of MVA Ltd, who undertook the study, said little research had been carried out into the problem in Scotland and "very little" since 2000.
They warned that professionals may not be getting enough training to tackle the problem and that care services may be inadequate.
All schools in Scotland provide drug education, including information on solvents
Scottish Executive spokeswoman "While the practice of glue-sniffing has declined, there is evidence to suggest that this has been replaced by abuse of an array of alternative products, including aerosols and other household products, and in particular gas lighter refills," said the report.
"The evidence suggests that the range of products that can be used, the availability of products, the low cost and ease of hiding productions and the short-term visible effects of use, make VSA easy to engage in and easy to hide."
An executive spokeswoman said there was one death from volatile substance abuse in 2004, compared to six the previous year.
"But one death is one too many. We can not be complacent," she said.
"The Scottish Executive is committed to ensuring that young people, parents and retailers are aware of the dangers of abusing products such as cigarette lighter refills, aerosol sprays and glue.
"All schools in Scotland provide drug education, including information on solvents.
"What's more the Know the Score website provides links to clear facts and we have produced a booklet on VSA, which is targeted at professionals and parents."