Monday, August 11, 2014

VSA Headlines - August 2014

The new Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England report has been published, showing once again that volatile substance abuse ('VSA') is the most common form of substance misuse among young people aged 11-13 years old. 

When the study is extended to include 14 and 15 year-olds, VSA is second only to cannabis: 

Key findings overall included:
  • Among 11 to 15 year olds: “[After cannabis (7%)] volatile substances, such as glues, gases, aerosols and solvents, were the next most commonly used, with 3.6% of pupils having inhaled them in the last year.”
  • “Where pupils had only taken one type of drug in the last year, younger pupils were more likely than older pupils to report that their only drug use was inhaling volatile substances (59% of 11 to 13 year olds who had taken drugs in the last year, compared with 9% of 15 year olds).”
  • “In line with previous years, in 2013, pupils were most likely to have been offered cannabis (18%) or glue, gas, aerosols or solvents (10%).”

Other headlines from around the world include:


Man 'on solvent high' attacked teen: A man who attacked a teenager in Belfast city centre while high on solvents has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Teenager addicted to sniffing aerosols is jailed: Defending, Neil O'Driscoll explained, "... He wants to get help to try to overcome his addiction."

Warning over dangers of laughing gas misuse: Councils say risky recreational use of nitrous oxide has become widespread, with councils seizing canisters in large numbers.

Laughing Gas Crackdown Amid 'Disturbing' Craze: A council seizes 1,200 nitrous oxide canisters in a single night, as officials warn the craze is being fuelled by online videos.

Hippy Crack is the lethal legal high sweeping the nation: The dangerous legal high nitrous oxide, which is sucked through balloons, starves the body of oxygen and makes punters light-headed, weak-legged and dizzy.

Growing numbers of young people in Bristol are inhaling nitrous oxide for a so-called 'legal high': Thousands of the two-and-a-half-inch metal canisters can be found discarded on pavements, and parks and play areas all over the city.

Laughing gas found behind church: Sgt Andy Miller of Wilmslow NPU said "We have received numerous reports recently from local residents who have been finding these canisters discarded in parks, playgrounds, behind shops and after youths parties."

Childhood brain tumours: associations with parental occupational exposure to solvents: "Parental occupational exposures have been associated with childhood brain tumours (CBT), but results are inconsistent. Few studies have studied CBT risk and parental solvent exposure, suggesting a possible association. We examined the association between CBT and parental occupational exposure to solvents in a case–control study." British Journal of Cancer 111, 998-1003 (26 August 2014) | doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.358.

Other legal highs

Young mum died after taking legal high days before it was made illegal: Southampton mum had been experimenting with drugs for months an inquest heard.

'Highly intelligent' student died after taking legal high, inquest hears: His death came two months after that of fellow University of Surrey student.

New [Scottish] figures reveal legal high drug deaths more than doubled in last year: Last year there were 113 deaths where New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) were present, compared with 47 in 2012.

Charity backs calls for tougher rules on 'legal highs': The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank this week recommended laws making it easier for so-called ‘head shops’ to be closed down and owners banned from opening certain types of businesses. Full report here.

Group calls for legal high law: A west Belfast drugs action group is calling for new laws to prevent legal highs becoming available and is aiming to educate young people about the potentially deadly consequences of taking the substances through a new DVD.

Police withdraw legal highs advice an hour later (Edinburgh): Drugs advice on legal highs was withdrawn within an hour of being released because it didn’t conform with a new hard-line stance from Police Scotland, insiders claim.

Legal high sales set for crackdown in NW Leicestershire: Leicestershire Police has now launched Operation Nitrox to help in the fight against the sale of substances.

University of Lincoln team's legal high research to feature on Embarrassing Bodies: See episode information here.

Boycott stops legal high sales at newsagent: A newsagent [in Musselburgh] has withdrawn sales of a legal high blamed for at least one death following a boycott by angry residents.

Dundee legal high retailers: ‘Don’t blame shops’: Retailers selling so-called legal highs in Dundee have said don’t blame us if people abuse them.


Test results awaited in death of Bloomsbury man after 'huffing' (NJ): The man died about 14 hours after he was found in the back seat of a taxi cab where he had passed out.

Marshfield man, 34, found dead; huffing suspected (WI): A 34-year-old Marshfield man was found dead in his home and police found evidence of huffing inhalants, Lt. Darren Larson said Monday.

Sharpsburg man admits to huffing paint thinner after assaulting 7-year-old neighbor (PA): Police said they received a call Friday for a 57-year-old man in an “altered mental status” who was assaulting a boy in the 1900 block of Middle Street.


Dads' exposure to solvents linked to childhood brain tumours: Brain tumours in children could have as much to do with the father's occupational exposure to solvents as they have to do with the mother's, a new Australian study has found.


Man died rapidly after 'huffing' butane gas: The case is the latest so-called "huffing" death to be scrutinised by the coroner's court, which has repeatedly highlighted the dangers of substance inhalation.


High number of capital’s children high on glue: With roughly cropped hair and dressed in a dirty torn cloths, a teenager boy of about 15 years is found busy in sniffing glue along a roadside traffic signal of 6th Road, Rawalpindi without any fear of the authorities.