Thursday, May 31, 2012

VSA Headlines: May 2012 

UK

Legal highs being used by children in Bexley: Canisters containing nitrous oxide, which are designed for making whipped cream, are reportedly being inhaled by kids as young as 11 to starve their brains of oxygen for "a buzz".

Warning over 'legal highs' (Somerset): The warnings come following the recent discovery of around 30 empty nitrous oxide canisters near the shelter at Collett Park in Shepton by Quadron Services Ltd's park staff.

UKRAINE

Marcel Theroux: life with Ukraine's street children: The dirt floor underfoot is scattered with empty yellow tubes. They're from a brand of Ukrainian glue that's used for resoling shoes, but when inhaled from a plastic bag, the fumes suppress feelings of cold and hunger and produce auditory and visual hallucinations. They also cause brain damage.

US

Education May Protect Brain From Exposure to Solvents: People with less than a high school education who work with solvents may have problems with their thinking skills later in life, according to a [Harvard University] study of people in France.

Medford man indicted in death of 14-year-old girl who inhaled helium at teen party (Medford, OR): A 32-year-old Medford man has been indicted on a negligent homicide charge in the death of a 14-year-old Eagle Point girl who died after inhaling helium at party.

18-year-old charged with arson (Las Cruces, NM): Investigators said Galvan and two other teenagers were in the backyard of the abandoned home, and were huffing lighter fluid in an attempt to achieve a chemical high. Another arrest for arson was made in Douglas County, GA, where Men huffing burned historic mill.

Inhalant blamed in crash injuring school worker (Livingston County, MI): The sheriff's department is seeking charges against a 16-year-old Michigan high school student who struck a security officer with a vehicle in a school parking lot.

Probation set for woman who huffed aerosol in front of child (New Auburn, WI): A rural New Auburn woman will spend two years on probation for huffing from an aerosol can in the presence of her young son in the bathroom of an Eau Claire store.

Lund pleads guilty to DUI causing injury, aggravated assault (Laramie, WY): Police found two 3.5 ounce compressor air canisters of Maxell Blast Away Multi-Purpose Canned Air in Lund’s vehicle. When asked about the canisters, Lund admitted to inhaling the cleaner prior to the accident.

Northwest Arkansas Police See Increase in Huffing Cases: Fayetteville police said there is cause for concern about a recent trend. They said they are seeing more and more cases of people inhaling chemicals to get high.

“Huffing” arrests spark changes in HVAC equipment: In an effort to thwart attempts to inhale Freon from HVAC units, Advent Air Conditioning recently announced that it will now include locking refrigerant caps on all new construction and replacement HVAC work, effective immediately.  The locking caps had been offered as optional equipment since 2011.

FDA warns breathable caffeine maker over label: U.S. regulators warned the maker of inhalable caffeine product AeroShot Pure Energy over false or misleading labeling, and for contradictory statements about using the product with alcohol.

Council Approves Stricter Drug Rules (Twin Falls, ID): The Twin Falls City Council unanimously approved an ordinance change Tuesday that tightens the city’s ability to crack down on synthetic marijuana and other inhalants.

CANADA

Huffing thought cause of explosion (Kamsack, SK): An explosion inside a vehicle sent three youths to hospital Monday night. RCMP believe the explosion was caused by the three youths - two 13-year old girls and one 12-year-old girl - who were huffing propane in the car.

AUSTRALIA

Sniffers hit pits in rush on spray deodorants (Alice Springs, NT): The Central Australian Youth Link Up Service says, over the past fortnight, it has found more than 100 deodorant cans that have been used for sniffing.

City's chrome stats still way too high: Monash has been replaced as the chroming capital of Victoria ... the new problem centre, the City of Melbourne, had a rise of about 5per cent. (In Maribyrnong "inhalant incidents [requiring an ambulance call out] doubled to 14 - second only to the City of Melbourne")

Youth 'chroming' on the rise in Mount Isa: The department's Sandra Kennedy says a federally-funded program is in place in the city aimed at reducing the incidence of 'chroming'. "We see children as young as six years old affected by chroming."

Pressure grows to force Opal fuel sales in bush: The Northern Territory Government has backed a call for petrol stations to be forced to sell the non-aromatic Opal Fuel in areas where petrol sniffing is a problem. However, Katherine mayor questions calls for Opal roll-out and Forced sales of Opal fuel a 'legal minefield' says the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon.

NEW ZEALAND

Huffing death a wake-up to young friends: Friends of a 12-year-old boy who died while "huffing" butane say his death has made them realise how dangerous sniffing the gas is.  The death has led to growing calls for retailers to take more responsibility over the sale of solvents to young people and for butane sales to be regulated. However, Prime Minister John Key says Darius' death is tragic, but he's not convinced new legislation would make a difference. A drug counsellor has described the issue of youth abusing solvents as being on the "same spectrum" as alcohol abuse and coroners have raised the issue that despite "dealing with 28 butane deaths from 2007 to 2011, resulting in numerous recommendations" little action has been taken because their recommendations are not mandatory.

Huffing victim's mum calls for action: The mother of a Christchurch boy who died after huffing has called for action before more young people die. 

Invalid man's attacker jailed (Palmerston North): A solvent-sniffing homeless man who assaulted a man in a wheelchair and scuffled with firefighters has been sent to jail.

JAPAN

'High' herbs cause surge in hospitalizations: The number of people hospitalized after inhaling or consuming certain types of herbs for their stimulatory or hallucinatory effects has sharply risen in Tokyo this year, leading police to step up their inspections of shops selling these substances.

INDIA

Stationer held for selling whitener to minors (Hyderabad): A stationery store owner was taken into custody for selling whitener to minors who are getting addicted to inhaling the whitener for a ‘kick.'


Friday, May 11, 2012

VSA Headlines: April 2012


UK

South Norwood mum died after inhaling lighter fluid, inquest hears: The body of a young mother who died after inhaling lighter fluid was discovered almost 16 days after her death. 

Hampton teen died after inhaling deodorant, inquest hears: A 19-year-old woman collapsed and died after sniffing deodorant to get high, an inquest has heard.

Man taken to hospital after ‘inhaling gas’: An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: “A man who we believe to be in his 90s was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital for further assessments after inhaling gas.”

Paramedic struck off for sniffing gas on duty: An ambulanceman who repeatedly sniffed pain-relieving gas while on duty, leaving a trail of empty cylinders behind him, has been struck off by the Health Professions Council. 

Old Trafford woman handed criminal asbo. An Old Trafford woman has been handed a criminal asbo after she stole tins of gas from shops in Altrincham and inhaled them.

USA

Casper woman sentenced in fatal huffing crash (Casper, WY): A Casper woman who inhaled dust cleaner before a fatal car wreck will spend at least eight years in prison. Judge Catherine Wilking noted that Casper has seen a number of serious crashes involving dust cleaner. A warning about huffing and driving was also released in Evanston, WY.

Resurgence of thefts could result in deaths: Thieves are stealing Freon to get high. Police say they are pouring the chemical from people's air conditioning units and inhaling it. Oklahoma Poison Control say there have been seven deaths in a two-year period.

Orem City urges parents to talk to kids about huffing (Orem, UT): In a tweet sent out last night to the community, the Department of Public Safety urged parents to ‘talk to their kids about the dangers of huffing.

Teens getting high on Whip-Its (Louisiana): It gives them a legal and easily purchased high, but it could also take their life.

US teens 'getting drunk on hand sanitiser': An increasing number of US teenagers are drinking hand sanitiser and mouthwash because it contains alcohol, police in Albuquerque say.

AUSTRALIA

Opal fuel needed to stop petrol sniffers (Katherine, NT): Children as young as six years of age have been seen sniffing petrol in the Katherine region. To intervene in the trend a group of more than 60 stakeholders, service providers, government, health and youth group representatives gathered in Katherine last week to discuss a push for the roll-out of Opal fuel in the region before the next wet season.

Petrol sniffing remains despite Opal roll-out: Central Australian Youth Link Up Service says some fuel retailers in central Australia are still refusing to stop sales of unleaded.

Seawind inquest finding (Bellambi, NSW): Deputy State Coroner Ian Guy found that 25 year-old Michael Parsons died from a heart arrhythmia caused by acute exposure to industrial solvent. Delivering his findings, Mr Guy said Seawind Catamarans’ management had failed to implement strategies to control the staff’s exposure to solvents and glues in ‘‘any meaningful way’’.

INDIA

Observation home offers little help to juveniles (Hyderabad): He is not even 12 years old but had been committing one crime after another for a ‘gang leader’ who kept him intoxicated. He was forcibly inebriated - not by alcohol or drugs - but by sniffing whitener, which left him oblivious even to hunger.

PAKISTAN

Drug-addicted society: Over 50,000 street children are involved in solvent substance abuse in four major cities of the country.

UAE

Unsupervised UAE teen parties wild binge events: From inhaling butane gas to sniffing glue, to burning insects and inhaling the fumes, the ways are cheap, novel and, sometimes even, lethal. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

VSA Headlines: March 2012

UK

Darleane Bell: coroner calls for care centre review: It follows the death of 15-year-old Darleane Bell who left Ashgrove Care Centre in Newtownards after midnight in June 2010. She sniffed gas from a tin of deodorant at nearby Glenford Park and later died.

Athletics meeting in memory of Cumbrian teenager: A talented young sportsman who died after inhaling petrol fumes while camping with friends, will be remembered at an athletics meeting this weekend. Petrol taken along to help light a fire had leaked inside the tent overnight.

It’s no laughing matter: Young people in Bristol are using nitrous oxide to get high: More and more young people are using nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, to get high.

IRELAND

Man died after taking 'poppers': Darach Culhane-Nolan (33) was found dead at his home on Burrow Road, Sutton, Dublin, on March 16th last year, having inhaled amyl nitrite – more commonly known as poppers – the night before. 

USA

“Inhaling Helium Seems Like Fun Until Someone Dies” is the Message from the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition Press Conference, Supported by EIC. The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) participated in a press conference with the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) and the parents of 14-year-old Ashley Long, who died last month after huffing helium. Media from the greater DC area attended [and] also at the press conference was Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The NIPC has also called for new restrictions on the sale of the gas - as well as a more serious approach in the media to coverage of its misuse.

Dead body found on high school soccer field (Albuquerque, NM): The victim's name hasn't been released yet. But police say he appeared to have been sniffing or "huffing" the commercial substance used to dust computers.

Man in crash died from inhaling computer cleaner (Burlington, NC): The cause of death of a man who died in early January after he drove his car into the front of a house on Blanche Drive in Burlington was toxicity from a compound found in computer spray cleaner.

Stark County student faces DUI charges in fatal car crash (Stark County, OH): The intoxicating substance allegedly involved was not alcohol ... but rather a chemical "huffed" or inhaled from an aerosol dust-cleaning product commonly used on electronic products.

Dangerous Teen Craze Whip-Its Making a Comeback?: There is growing concern among health professionals that Whip-Its -- small canisters filled with nitrous oxide that can be used as a recreational drug and were reportedly used by actress Demi Moore shortly before she was rushed to the hospital in January -- are making a comeback among teenagers and young adults across the country.

CANADA

Two Free Press journalists nominated for outstanding investigative journalism: Reporter Mary Agnes Welch was nominated in the print category for Sniff: Life at Rock Bottom, a chronicle of the epidemic of solvent abuse among addicts in Winnipeg’s downtown core (see earlier blog).

Canada, home to the suicide capital of the world: In Pikangikum, gas sniffing is rampant and young people are taking their own lives at a shocking rate. 

AUSTRALIA

Aboriginal alliance backs petrol sniffing controls: An alliance of Aboriginal medical organisations has thrown its support behind proposed legislation to ban sniffable fuel in parts of the Northern Territory.

Communities fear resurgence of petrol sniffing: An Indigenous community group says a petrol sniffing epidemic in the Northern Territory town of Katherine is getting worse.

More resources urged to combat Meekatharra solvent abuse: The Western Australian Drug and Alcohol office says strategies are in place to stamp out solvent abuse by young people in Meekatharra.

NEW ZEALAND

Christchurch man died after inhaling LPG: A Christchurch man, who suffered from mental health disorders and was under stress from the earthquakes and the loss of family to Australia, died accidentally after inhaling LPG gas, a coroner has found.

Too many solvent deaths: coroner: A Wellington coroner is urging the government to look at ways of limiting young people's access to solvents such as butane, following the death of a Wainuiomata teenager.

INDIA

Rampant drug addiction: Whitener sniffers not easily detected (Bhopal): Street children in the state capital are getting addicted to whitener sniffing. Some have even lost their lives due to this addiction. These are some observations made by NGOs while demanding immediate attention of the state govt towards the issue.


VSA Headlines: Feb 2012

UK

Mother's warning as son found dead: A grieving mother is warning of the dangers of inhaling gas lighter fuel after hearing how fumes were suspected of causing her only child’s death.

Under-age sting targets traders: Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards team have been working with Cumbria police to increase vigilance and stamp out underage sales across the county. A test purchasing operation was carried out across Cumbria last week focusing on alcohol, tobacco, knives and butane gas. Some retailers did sell to the young volunteers, resulting in five sales of alcohol, one sale of tobacco and one sale of butane gas (the latter in Carlisle).

USA

Authorities say teen overdosed on 'date rape' drug (Santa Rosa, CA): Authorities say a 14-year-old Northern California girl who died during a sleepover last summer ...died from drinking a fatal dose of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric or GHB. GHB is found in some industrial cleaning solvents.

Medford teen died from inhaling helium at party (Medford, OR): The autopsy on a 14-year-old Medford girl who died Saturday after inhaling helium at a party shows she died of an air embolism. Her parents hope to save others from same fate.

Soldiers Went on Binge Before Fatal Crash (Columbus, GA): Two Fort Benning soldiers charged in a fatal five-car crash Saturday spent the hours before the wreck on a drinking and huffing binge, taking shots of Jack Daniel's whiskey and inhaling nitrous oxide from balloons, investigators said Tuesday.

Driving While Huffing: Not Currently a DUI in Washington, But Could Be Soon: The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved four bills that would overhaul Washington's laws on driving under the influence earlier this week ... Also included in one piece of legislation is a provision that could permit prosecutors to slap people who sniff chemicals with a DUI.

Residents' sudden deaths linked to abuse of 'air duster' products, officials say: A recent trend of sudden deaths after people intentionally inhaled "air duster" electronics-cleaning products to get high has prompted county scientists to write an academic paper drawing attention to the apparent drug abuse in San Diego County.

FDA to probe caffeine sold as an inhalant: Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement.

AUSTRALIA

Calls for tighter petrol sniffing laws in WA: A substance abuse agency has put its case for tighter petrol sniffing laws to the Mental Health Minister, describing Western Australia's inhalant problem as a "can of worms". 

Greens call for federal laws to target petrol sniffing: Petrol sniffing is back on the agenda in remote Australian outposts and in Canberra, with the Greens calling for a ban on regular fuel. 

INDIA

Two run over by train: Two youngsters were run over by a train at Safilguda in Secunderabad while they were sitting on the railway track and reportedly sniffing whitener to get a high, the police said on Monday.

BHUTAN

Government should step in to stamp out substance abuse: Sherub Dorji, 19, from Paro confessed in court to have inhaled dendrite, an industrial adhesive, bought from across the border in India and stealing a neighbours laptop to purchase more inhalants, court officials said.