Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Press Release: 20/11/12

Deaths from Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) in the UK in 2009 rose to 46 from 38 in 2008.

Stephen Ream, Director of Re-Solv, welcomed the publication of the annual report Trends in UK Deaths Associated with Abuse of Volatile Substances 1971-2009 by the International Centre for Drug Policy (ICDP) at St George’s, University of London. 

Key points from the report:
  • Deaths of young people aged 15-19 rose to 13 (from 8 in 2008).
  • Inhalation of Nitrous Oxide was associated with 5 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the UK associated with Nitrous Oxide since 1971 to 52. 
  • There were 17 deaths in Scotland associated with Volatile Substance Abuse, up from 4 in 2008. This is the highest number of VSA deaths in Scotland since 1991.
Stephen Ream said: “This increase in deaths is very worrying. At a time when the number of deaths from other forms of substance misuse are dropping in the UK, deaths from Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) are increasing. VSA involves the misuse of everyday household consumer products such as lighter refills, aerosols and solvents.

"VSA is too often a hidden problem: rarely given media coverage, often unrecognised by support services that focus on illicit drugs, and a cause of stigma and isolation for users. We talk to people who misuse 20-30 cans of butane cigarette lighter refills a day. This is a very real, very significant problem – and it will continue to kill people in the UK, young and old alike, until real action is taken to confront the issue.

"Re-Solv is working to increase routes into help, support and recovery for all those whose lives are affected by VSA, and to increase prevention efforts so that young people, and those who care for them, are aware of the potentially fatal risk of misusing these products.”


Anyone seeking advice can call Re-Solv on 01785 817885 or visit www.re-solv.org.


VSA Headlines: October 2012


A north London teenager died after inhaling an unknown gas from a canister he thought contained laughing gas, it has emerged. The 17-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest after inhaling the gas with his friends on 31 August. An inquest later revealed that the aerosol instead contained a mixture of dangerous gases including butane, which is used as lighter fuel, and pentane, which is used to make polystyrene.

Mother overcame heroin addiction only to become hooked on up to 15 butane gas canisters a day: A post-mortem examination revealed the mother had a cocktail of drugs in her body, including butane and benzodiazepines, at the time of her death.

Hereford teenager 'critical' after inhaling butane gas: A teenage boy from Hereford is in a critical condition in hospital after inhaling butane gas, police have said.

'Lucky' butane gas sniffers in blast drama (St Austell, Cornwall): An explosion at a guest house has hospitalised two residents who were thought to be sniffing butane gas while smoking.

Royal Bolton Hospital study links use of "poppers" with eyesight damage: The Royal Bolton Hospital is warning that sniffing "poppers" can cause lasting damage to the eyes, following the first study of its kind in the UK.
A post-mortem examination revealed the mother had a cocktail of drugs in her body, including butane and benzodiazepines, at the time of her death.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2159707/Knife-wielding-mother-high-15-canisters-butane-gas-threatened-cut-daughter-14--like-fish.html#ixzz2ClKStPLi
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Legal Highs

Boy, 16, dies after police warning on 'legal high' drugs: Six teenagers were rushed to hospital yesterday – and one of them died – shortly after a drugs warning about legal highs was issued by police.

Annihilation legal high leaves nine in hospital (Glasgow): Police have warned about the use of a "legal high" substance that has left nine people in hospital in the past three months. A leading drug misuse expert has called for tough new measures to target those involved in the supply of 'legal high' drugs.

Legal high linked to death in Jersey joins the banned list: A 19-year-old died earlier this year shortly after taking the stimulant-style drug Benzofuran, also known as Benzo Fury.

Amy Winehouse's Dad Launches Legal High Awareness Campaign: Amy Winehouse's father is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of legal mind-altering substances which have flooded the U.K. club scene. Details on the full campaign via the Angelus Foundation website.

Two arrests over Belfast 'legal highs': Police investigating the sale and supply of so-called legal highs arrested two men in Belfast on Wednesday afternoon.

Dad who ran 'legal high' drugs website from Burslem base sent to jail: A FATHER-OF-TWO has been jailed for selling thousands of pounds worth of 'legal high' drugs, which then became illegal. 


Huffing blamed for three Vermont deaths this year: Before the huffing of aerosols was being blamed for causing the crash that killed 17-year-old Carly Ferro last week, the practice of inhaling household chemicals had been deemed major factors in two other fatal crashes in the state this year — including one in Rutland.

Middle Point woman pleads in alleged huffing crash (OH): A Middle Point woman accused of huffing from a can of compressed air before causing a traffic crash that killed a 90-year-old woman pleaded no contest at a Monday court hearing.

Mom warns of dangers of inhaling helium: "There are few comprehensive statistics on deaths from helium huffing, since the federal government does not collect them and few states do," according to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC). However, Florida is one of those states and according to data collected there, in 2010, approximately 20 percent of the state's 38 inhalant deaths involved helium. 


Substance abuse is 'problem No. 1' in aboriginal North: Dr. Stanley Vollant's 'Innu path' is both a personal 4,000-km trek and a mentoring process for troubled youth. 


Oxiteno develops nail polish solvent to replace toluene: Brazilian chemicals company Oxiteno has developed a new solvent for nail polish applications that substitutes toluene.  


Petrol sniffing blamed for mall fire: A 29-year-old man was sniffing petrol in the roof cavity of a Darwin shopping centre shortly before a fire ignited, a court has heard.  


Legal Highs

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today announced details of a new regulatory regime for ''legal high'' manufacturers: Under the new regime, manufacturers would have to pay fees and testing costs to have the substance passed as safe for sale by a regulatory watchdog.

Users of synthetic cannabis are putting a strain on the health system in Otago, prompting police to ask retailers not to sell the legal high. 


Nairobi glue pusher preys on addicted kids to help her own: For kids in Kenya looking to get a cheap high, glue is the way to go. The dealers aren't necessarily drug kingpins. More often than not, they're mothers, selling glue as a means to put food on the table for and clothes on the back of their own children.

VSA Headlines: September 2012


Solvent abuse duo caused guest house explosion (Edinburgh): The pair had been inhaling from butane aerosol cans for hours before lighting up cigarettes and causing the blast. 

Legal Highs

86% of parents unaware of legal highs: A survey of over 1,000 parents with children aged between 13 and 18 years of age has today revealed the lack of awareness parents have around the latest headline hitting concern that is legal highs.

Mum of three girls dies after taking legal high drug at house party: The mother of a seven-week-old girl has died after a suspected overdose of a so-called legal high. Drugs expert calls for legal highs ban.

Hospitalisations caused by legal highs were reported from Darwen (Lancs),  Killmarnock (Ayrshire) and Whitley Bay (N Tyneside). 


Girl dies ‘after sniffing lighter fuel’: Police believe that a 14-year-old girl who fainted and died of cardiac arrest on Friday was sniffing lighter fuel with a friend on the roof of the Qawra department where she lived shortly before her death.

‘Youngsters don’t realise inhalants are dangerous’: There is a worrying and growing trend among young people who use inhalants, such as lighter fuel, to escape personal problems, according to George Grech, who heads the Government’s rehabilitation agency Sedqa.  


On the shelf at home, a means to get a high: According to the Inhalant Abuse Prevention Program, about 2.6 million children ages 12 to 17 use an inhalant each year to get high. One in four students has abused a common household product by the time they reach the eighth grade.

Wal-Mart, manufacturer sued over huffing death of Syracuse man (NY): James W. Monticelli bought 16 cans of aerosol dust remover from the Wal-Mart store in Camillus in the three days before his death two years ago. [His] father is suing Wal-Mart Stores and IQ Products Co. for $15 million, claiming they were negligent in allowing his son to feed his huffing habit with so many purchases.

In wake of teen's death, 'Kimmie's Law' preaches zero tolerance for inhalant use (NJ): Kimmie’s Law, sponsored by state Sen. Steven Oroho, (R-Sussex), and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), was introduced in June. The "zero tolerance" bill prohibits people from driving with any chemicals in their bloodstream resulting from inhalant use — meaning there is no acceptable level of those substances.

17-year-old dies a week after huffing canned air (Elko, NV): An Elko High School senior died Saturday, more than a week after huffing canned air and passing out, according to hospital and police reports.

Possible huffing death reported in Menomonie (WI): A 30-year-old Menomonie man died Saturday from an apparent accidental huffing overdose.

Man gets jail for deadly crash after inhaling laughing gas (CA): A Santa Ana man sat somberly in a wheelchair Monday as he was sentenced to a year in jail for killing one friend and injuring two others in a fiery car crash while he was under the influence of laughing gas.

Woman who was huffing before deadly wreck sentenced (Marietta, SC): A 46-year-old Marietta woman pleaded guilty Thursday in a DUI crash that killed a social worker and a 10-year-old girl in 2011.

A loss in Rutland: A 17-year-old girl has been killed by a speeding car, whose driver “was huffing (Dust-Off) prior to the crash, and may have blacked out and accelerated to a high rate of speed,” 

A dangerous chemical high — and not just for the user (Highland Park, IL): Teen charged with driving under the influence of 'intoxicating compound' after deadly crash. 


Treatment centre wants more help for gas sniffing youth (Thunder Bay): Solvent abuse treatment saves lives, care-givers say.

RCMP warn of violence, injury as gas-sniffing escalates in Natuashish (Newfoundland and Labrador): Almost 10 years after the Innu people of Davis Inlet were moved to Natuashish following a gas-sniffing crisis, police say a spike in solvent abuse involves kids as young as seven. "A pediatrician who cared for dozens of Innu children who were sniffing gas a decade ago says this time, Innu children abusing solvents should be treated at home in Natuashish instead of being sent away." Additional coverage on CBC News and in the Toronto Star.


States and Territories need to be on board for Opal fuel laws to work, says Senate committee: A GREENS-sponsored bill to force retailers to stop selling regular unleaded fuel near petrol-sniffing communities should be scrapped for a state and territory-based approach, a Senate committee recommends.


Inquest held into huffing-related death (Rotorua): The 16-year-old boy died last year.  The inhalation of butane found in his lungs triggered a fatal cardiac arrest. But his father said his son had shown no signs of using the chemical - and agreed with police comments that there needed to be more awareness for young people about huffing. "They just don't realise you die from that."

'Huffing' killing some of our kids: This week the death of a 17-year-old girl at a park in Christchurch was reported. Police said she might have been "huffing" butane as part of a group.

Restrictions a breath of fresh air: News this week that some of the country's prominent retail chains are voluntarily restricting the sale of butane-based products to minors is welcome.

Butane abuse: plea to families: Educating parents on the signs of butane abuse could be the key to addressing the concerning rate of death it causes among New Zealand teens, a toxicologist from the National Poisons Centre says.


Glue sniffing prevalent amongst Duvula youths: Residents of Duvula Street, Nadera claim youths in the area as young as 10 are openly indulging in glue sniffing.