01 May 2009
Solvent abuse among Wigan teenagers is rising alarmingly.
And worried substance abuse workers say young people – most of them between 11 and 16 – seem unaware that even first time users are at risk of instant death from inhaling solvents.
Sniffing gases, glues or aerosols kills at least one person every week in the UK, and in Wigan the number of referrals and requests for information about Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) has risen significantly this month.
Substance abuse workers in the borough are now trying to raise the public's awareness of the potentially lethal practice.
The substances are commonly found in the home and include aerosols containing deodorants, hairspray, air fresheners, gas lighter refills, cleaning fluids, tins or tubes of glue, surgical spirit, certain paints and thinners, dry cleaning fluids and petroleum products.
Due to the ready availability and low cost of these products, young people are a group particularly at risk from the dangers of abusing the substances.
Siobhan Heaton, manager of Wigan Council's Young People's Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAT) team, said: "Young people need to be aware that there is no safe way of abusing solvents, even first time users are at risk of instant death from using them. There is no safe way to do it."
Death can occur due to heart failure and from choking on vomit, and also due to accidents when high or hallucinating."
It is vital that children and young people understand the serious risks involved with abusing solvents."
By Andrew Cooney on wigantoday.net