Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Anguish as boy dies sniffing gas

A MOTHER has warned of the devastating consequences of sniffing aerosols following the death of her 17-year-old son.
Dean Simpson was found dead, clutching a can of lighter fuel, by his 14-year-old brother Jamie.
Mother-of-nine Julie Simpson said that, in the past, her son had used hairspray and fly spray to feed his habit.
She has urged parents to educate themselves about the dangers facing their children."I think I was in denial about what Dean was doing – I was ignorant of everything," she said."I didn't have a clue – I didn't know what I was looking for and I knew too little too late."
We did try and discuss it with him and he would say he had stopped. "He had a way of convincing you that he was telling the truth and I used to believe him, but I think I was a bit ignorant of the dangers because I've never experienced it before."
Dean, a former Castleford High pupil, was found dead last Thursday afternoon in a bedroom at home in Milnes Grove, Airedale, Castleford. His mother says he had been "vulnerable and easily led" and was very sensitive and loving. She added: "Me and his dad split up a lot of years ago and he has been in foster care since he was about seven. He only came back home to me last November. "His ultimate goal in life was to be at home with his mum and he got what he wanted. "
He had a troubled childhood and had a lot of issues and I think that's what contributed to him using aerosols."
Dean's foster parents tried to get him to stop abusing aerosols – a habit he had for around two years – but to no avail.
Lesley and Steven Cole, of Glasshoughton, had fostered Dean for around nine years.Mrs Cole, 56, said: "If only he would have just listened. He said he would try and stop because all he wanted was to go home. "When I realised what was happening I stopped buying furniture polish, air sprays and fresheners. But he could get his hands on it if he wanted."
His funeral will be held at 11am on Monday at Whitwood Cemetery chapel and he will be buried in a signed Leeds United shirt.
An inquest will be held into his death once inquiries are complete. The number of deaths in Yorkshire from inhaling volatile substances has risen in recent years, according to a charity set up in memory of Bradford schoolgirl Chantelle Bleau, who died aged 16 in 1997 after sniffing lighter fuel. Her mother Pat believes the key to saving lives is education and she has been campaigning to raise awareness in schools and among parents and professionals.
In recent years deaths from solvent abuse, which kill at least one young person a week, have been rising faster in Yorkshire than anywhere else in the country. Mrs Bleau was instrumental in getting the age limit raised for teenagers buying butane gas from 16 to 18. She said recently: "What kids need to know is that it's like Russian Roulette – most of them won't die, but one of them will. That is the risk you take every time you do it."
Taken from the Yorkshire Post
18 October 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bahrain sniffing craze

Sniffing craze sparks alert


BAHRAIN's youngsters are putting their health at risk by getting high on a car engine treatment chemical sold openly at petrol stations, garages and maintenance stores, it has been revealed.
It is part of a worrying trend of solvent abuse that doctors say could cause severe long-term damage to children's brain, liver and kidneys.
Several children a month are admitted to hospital for the affects of solvent abuse, according to one doctor.
A leading Bahraini drug specialist is now calling for tougher controls on the sale of volatile substances to minors, describing them as a stepping stone to harder drugs.
"It is known that these are sold to virtually anyone, including kids," said consultant psychiatrist Dr Abdulnabi Derbas.
"The latest revelation is these schoolchildren getting hooked on car engine treatment fluids, easily available at any petrol station or car repair shop."
Dr Derbas was responding to a GDN question about Premium Concentrated Stop, which a group of teenagers was seen passing round and inhaling in Khamis.
It is apparently sold for just BD1 as a treatment for car engines.
Stop is produced by Pennsylvania Petroleum International, whose website warns that it may cause irritation to the gastrointestinal system, irritation to the respiratory system if inhaled, irritation to the skin upon exposure and if it touches the eye could cause redness, tearing or blurred vision.
The company recommends that people use safety glasses and gloves when handling it.
"The problem is that we never get to know how widespread it is, although we know it is a menace," said Dr Derbas, who is head of the Almoayyed Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre at the Psychiatric Hospital.
Dr Derbas said there was virtually no control on youngsters inhaling glue, petrol or substances such as Stop.
The GDN visited several garages in Khamis to ask if they sold cans of Stop to children and was told they sold the product to "whoever asks for it".
Youngsters who are caught sniffing such substances are referred to the Psychiatric Hospital, but Dr Derbas said there were no accurate figures to show how widespread the problem was.
Other substances known to be used by children to get high include paint thinners/removers, dry-cleaning fluid, correction fluid and marker pen fluid.
A toxicologist at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) said that although substances differed in makeup, nearly all abused inhalants produce short-term effects similar to an anaesthetic - slowing down the body's functions.
"When inhaled in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxication usually lasting only a few minutes," said the toxicologist, who asked to remain anonymous.
"However, sometimes users extend this effect for several hours by breathing in inhalants repeatedly."
He said users initially feel slightly stimulated, but repeated inhalations make them feel less inhibited and less in control.
"If use continues, users can lose consciousness," he said.
"Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death within minutes of a session of repeated inhalations."
He said chronic abuse of solvents could cause severe, long-term damage to the brain, the liver and the kidneys.
"Harmful, irreversible effects that may be caused by abuse of specific solvents include hearing loss, damage to the nervous system, limb spasms, brain damage and even bone marrow damage."

from the Gulf Daily News