Monday, May 23, 2011

VSA Headlines: April-May 2011

The words of one mother, whose son died after becoming addicted to butane gas, are particularly resonant this month, following a number of deaths from VSA.

Quoted in the Derby Telegraph, Ms Evans called for the dangers of Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) – the deliberate inhalation of volatile substances such as lighter fuel, glue or aerosols – to be widely publicised. She said: "After my son's death, I began to research the subject and I was astonished by how universal it is. Communities are often unaware of the consequences of VSA. The community needs to be aware of the services available to address this problem. More funding is needed to encourage practitioners to write about the subject."

Re-Solv's Helpline number is 01785 810762.


Three people helped by teen who died after sniffing aerosol: A teenager whose Asperger's Syndrome led him to develop compulsive behaviour – including an obsession with smells – died after he sniffed an aerosol spray.

Misadventure verdict on chef: A chef who failed to turn up for work was found dead on his living room floor, clutching a butane gas canister, an inquest heard.

Family of Crewe teenager mark anniversary of his death by warning others of dangers of solvent abuse: Sports-mad teenager Robert Pownall was just 14 when he died after an experiment sniffing the fluid at his Crossway home one Saturday morning went wrong.

Paul Lupton was high on butane gas when he stalked his victim and attacked her: Neil Clark, Lupton’s barrister, said he was a butane gas addict who largely slept rough. He had scars from childhood beatings from his stepfather.

Gas-snorting heroin addict from Hatfield has ‘life’ sentence quashed: Heroin addict John Davidson Scott collected gas cylinders and kept them under his bed so he could get high from inhaling the fumes.

Arson accused 'sniffed' petrol
: An alleged arsonist arrested after a car was set alight claimed he was carrying two suspected bottles of petrol to sniff, the High Court has heard.


New national research by The Partnership at and MetLife Foundation published 6/4/11 indicates that teen drug and alcohol use is headed in the wrong direction. With specific regard to VSA, their finding show that: "Past-year teen inhalant abuse remains at 10 percent, yet only 60 percent of teens strongly agree that 'sniffing or huffing things to get high can kill you,' significantly less than the 70 percent of teens who said the same in 2008. Inhalant abuse merits careful monitoring – as teen attitudes towards inhalant abuse weaken, abuse is more likely to increase." More.

A brand new awareness-raising campaign, Strike Out Inhalant Abuse, has been launched in the state of Minnesota. The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) has partnered with the Minnesota Twins and other community organizations, and local businesses have also joined the coalition to strengthen the impact of the campaign. Awareness and coalition-building efforts will continue throughout the year to help spread the message about the dangers of inhalant abuse and how to prevent it. Read more or watch a video clip.

Girl Who Died at Rave was Huffing Whip-Its: The 18 year old collapsed while attending a rave party at Madison Event Center in downtown Phoenix. Police say she had been inhaling nitrous oxide, and a toxicology test is pending to determine a cause of death.

Man Dies After Inhaling Refrigerant: A 25-year-old Ruston man has died after “huffing” freon, Lincoln Parish sheriff’s deputies said.

Judge orders mental evaluation: Weldon, 19, was charged with a number of offenses including the attempted murder of a Coffee County Sheriff’s Office deputy. During the hearing, Weldon’s parents testified their son is a former honor student who has developed an addiction to “huffing,” which is the cause of his changed behavior.

Reports concerning fatal crashes or critical injury caused by VSA were reported this month in Huntersville (NC), Mount Holly (NJ), Indiana (IN) and Rapid City (SD).

The story of repeat offender Kelly Gibson who is addicted to huffing made headlines in a number of UK papers as well as the US media. However, coverage was also given to his wife, Elizabeth, who spoke out tellingly on behalf of many who support someone addicted to VSA to say: “People need to understand that he is still a person. He is a person fighting with a very ugly addiction.”


Shamattawa helped by no-sniff gas: An odourless gasoline made halfway across the globe has proven an effective weapon in a battle against solvent abuse on a Manitoba First Nation community.


An interesting story ran this month that raised the issue of retailer responsibility and best practice. Youth workers in Central Australia had expressed concern that the supermarket giant Coles is inadvertently contributing to an inhalant abuse problem because of the in-store placement of misusable products. Coles has responded to say it is happy to move potential inhalants and is working proactively with Tangentyere Council to help reduce the inhalant flow into Alice Springs. An unrelated story but on the same topic from South Hedland makes the suggestion that displays could be "placed in areas where closer supervision can be made of the products themselves."

Youth workers warn of more petrol sniffing: Youth workers say the continuing availability of standard petrol in some areas of the Northern Territory is contributing to a sniffing outbreak at a Central Australian community.


Govt to use nataks to deter kids from using intoxicants: The government plans to teach children the ill-effects of using intoxicants through stories, songs, slogans and group discussions.

PIL for steps to check inhalant abuse among children: Government and schools should be directed to take steps to check inhalant abuse among students, including making children and their parents aware of its harmful affects and preventing easy access to intoxicants, according to a petition submitted to the Delhi High Court.

Eraser fluid addict minor boys arrested for murder
: Two minor boys have been arrested for planning and murdering another minor boy in Ghaziabad's Loni area. Police said both the accused are addicted to sniffing eraser fluid easily available in the market.