Monday, September 30, 2013

VSA Headlines: September 2013


Mum found dead in flat by her brother: The mother-of-one was discovered lying on her sofa, surrounded by gas canisters.

Barrow man, 28, found dead by friend, inquest hears: A man died after taking a dangerous cocktail of drugs, an inquest has ruled.

Solvent abuse on the rise in Inverness: Inverness shopkeepers are being warned to be on their guard about sales of lighter fuel after concerns about rising levels of solvent abuse.

Tottenham defender Walker apologises for 'legal high' scandal: The 23-year-old, who was pictured inhaling laughing gas at a nightclub in June, took to Twitter to say he regrets his actions and had been unaware of the potential dangers.

Shame of chemical sniffing Leeds General Infirmary doctor: A doctor who inhaled chemicals at a Leeds hospital and collapsed while on duty has been struck off.

Carlisle hospital worker inhaled laughing gas while patient on operating table: A hospital worker was seen “on his hands and knees” after inhaling laughing gas as a patient lay on the operating table.

Legal Highs

Legal high deaths increase sharply in a year: Fifty-two people died after taking drugs such as Spice and mephedrone last year in England and Wales, up from 29. Read the full report here.

Postmen are “unwitting drug mules” in deadly trade of ‘legal highs’: UK labelled addiction capital of Europe in new Centre for Social Justice report.

Warning as hospitals face spate of ‘legal high’ cases: A health warning has been issued after 10 people were hospitalised in a fortnight after using “legal highs".

Gravesend sex offender jailed over daytime assault 'while on legal high': A man who sexually assaulted a woman in broad daylight in Gravesend while claiming to be under the influence of a legal high, has been jailed for 18 months.

Parents' plea after 'legal high' leaves boy in hospital: The parents of a teenage boy who was left critically ill in hospital are warning other families about the 'legal high' drugs available over the counter on Torquay's high street. Police, health bosses and Torbay Council are about to launch a campaign in schools.

Prisoner at HMP Peterhead rushed to hospital after taking legal high drug: Legal highs have been confiscated from a convict for the first time in a Scottish prison.


EU moving against ‘legal’ highs: Brussels could pull newly discovered legal highs from the market immediately under new drug enforcement measures proposed this week by the European Commission. Read more here.


A new paper, Treatment Modules and Therapeutic Approaches for Inhalant Abuse: A Case Report, has been published this month in the journal, Psychiatric Annals:

"The literature survey indicates that currently available treatment protocols are limited. A stronger knowledge base about inhalant-related symptoms is needed to better understand the clinical course of inhalant-use disorders, which will greatly help in developing evidence-based treatments and aiding treatment selections." 

Anatoliy Vasilov, MD; Bharat Nandu, MD; Jeffrey Berman, MD, FASAM;  Psychiatric Annals, September 2013 - Volume 43 · Issue 9: 419-423. Read the full paper here.

Cause of death released for woman found at Lakeport Commons (IA): An official at the Woodbury Medical Examiner's Office said it's believed [she] inhaled the toxic gas from aerosol cans.

HCC police find man dead near several spray paint can (TX): Initial information indicated the man appeared to be homeless and may have been inhaling paint fumes sometime before he was found dead,

Teen gets prison for DUI crash (CA): it was disclosed that [she] had lost consciousness while driving on Montgomery Street on Feb. 24 because she was huffing — attempting to get high by breathing the fumes from an air dusting spray.

Toulon man receives 12 years for ‘huffing’ before fatal crash (IL): A Toulon man was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison for “huffing” while driving in a high-speed crash that killed three Stark County teens nearly two years ago.

Fatal 'huffing' DUI charges to be dropped? (IL): A prosecuting attorney told HLN Wednesday that the fate of an Illinois teenager accused of running over and killing a 5-year-old girl may be in limbo after her attorneys questioned the constitutionality of the charges [and] filed a motion on September 18 requesting that the charges against her be dropped because the chemical she was allegedly huffing is not specified as an intoxicant under Illinois law.

'Huffer' battered grandma (DE): A New Castle man has been accused of — and pleaded guilty to — shoving his grandmother, “huffing” aerosol spray and fighting with police.


Actor joins treatment centre’s walk: The Ka-Na-Chi-Hih Specialized Solvent Treatment Abuse Centre hosted its annual walk Thursday to promote a community that is free of solvent abuse.


'Hippy crack' party drug warning amid fears Australians will follow UK spike in nitrous oxide use: Drug experts have warned of the risks associated with the laughing gas nitrous oxide, dubbed 'hippy crack', amid fears Australians will follow the British trend of using the legal inhalant as a common party drug.


Legal Highs

Legal high retailers shut down for flouting new rules: The Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority says it has suspended licences in Hawera and Dunedin after evidence the retailers were not complying with the Psychoactive Substances Act.


Cheap, easy, deadly: Butane new high for young addicts in UAE: Little is known about the extent of its use in the UAE and it is only when it comes to hospitalisation that the drug comes to the fore.


Girl gang-raped by five 'minor' boys: An 11-year-old was allegedly gang-raped by five teenagers high on sniffing glue in Guwahati.

Friday, September 13, 2013

New service supports those addicted to gas, aerosol and solvent legal highs

Specialist agencies, Re-Solv and Solve It, have partnered to launch Community for Recovery (, a national support service for those affected by volatile substance abuse (‘VSA’), the misuse of gases, aerosols and solvents.

It’s probably the most hidden form of drug abuse in the UK, but ‘volatile solvent abuse’ (‘VSA’ for short) is killing more people a year than any of the new psychoactive substances known as ‘legal highs’.

VSA is the inhalation of gases, aerosols and solvents – often from everyday products found in all our homes. Over 50,000 people in the UK misuse volatile substances but, until now, there has been little or no support available for them, or for their families. Often inhaling up to 10 or more gas cans a day, those chronically addicted need the same level of support that illicit drug-users receive – not least because VSA can kill instantly. On average, 54 people in the UK die each year from misusing butane gas or other volatile substances such as nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’).

Despite being the original ‘legal high’, VSA is rarely talked about. As a result, those affected by VSA often feel helpless and alone. Community for Recovery is about overcoming this isolation and providing professional and peer support into recovery. is a web-hub that provides direct access to professional advice, online counselling and peer support, without stigma, for VS-users and their families and friends. Through web content, instant messaging, email and discussion forums, visitors can access information, support and referral into local treatment and recovery services.

In order to ensure that local substance misuse providers have the skills and confidence to support someone misusing volatile substances, Community for Recovery is also funded to deliver free professional VSA training to support and treatment services anywhere in England.

Community for Recovery is funded by a major grant from the Department of Health Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD) Fund and is a partnership project between Re-Solv and Solve It, two UK charities that work to prevent volatile substance abuse and support those whose lives are affected by it.


For more information please contact Re-Solv’s Director, Stephen Ream, on 01785 817885 or visit

Notes to editors

Re-Solv (, @resolvUK) is the national agency working to prevent volatile substance abuse (‘VSA’) in the UK and Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on VSA.

Solve It (, @SolveItVSA) provides a unique holistic and specialist service tackling all issues in relation to VSA and is the only UK agency to provide VSA online counselling.

Volatile substance abuse (‘VSA’) is the misuse of consumer products found in all our homes and high streets. A range of chemicals are described as ‘volatile substances’ because they readily evaporate at room temperature, giving off a ‘sniffable’ vapour. Volatile substance abuse or ‘VSA’ is when these substances are deliberately inhaled through the mouth and/or nose to achieve a change in mental state or ‘high’. The most commonly misused products are butane gas from cigarette lighter refills, aerosols (such as deodorants and hair sprays), petrol and some glues. When inhaled deliberately, volatile substances can kill suddenly and unpredictably; there is no way to avoid this risk.

Nitrous oxide (‘hippy crack’ or ‘laughing gas’), another volatile substance, is now the second most popular drug among 16-24 year olds in England.