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.”

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