Monday, July 17, 2017

VSA Headlines - July 2017

The government has published their 2017 Drug Strategy. Bearing in mind that VSA is the most common form of substance abuse among under-13s, it is good that the role of early intervention and prevention is recognised:

“We are clear that reducing the harms caused by drugs needs to be part of a balanced approach. This means acting at the earliest opportunity to prevent people from starting to use drugs in the first place and prevent escalation to more harmful use …” (p5)

It is also recognised that “Parents, families and friends also play an integral role in preventing substance misuse” (p10): a long-term concern for Re-Solv and key focus of our ongoing community project in Stoke-on-Trent.

There is recognition that: "We know that people with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health conditions are too often unable to access the care they need"  (p33). This is a critical issue for many using solvents, and Re-Solv hopes to be able to contribute to the development of "new national guidance" to promote effective joint working and "preventing exclusion based on presenting need.”

Finally, we welcome the statement that there should be equality of access to services for anyone struggling with substance misuse: "We are clear that no-one should be left behind on the road to recovery” (p28).

UK

Criminal behaviour order bans [local man] from abusing solvents, drinking & swearing in Truro: A 25-year-old has been slapped with a criminal behaviour order (CBO) to stop him abusing solvents, boozing on the streets and swearing anywhere in Truro.

(Re-Solv do have concerns about a further headline relating to this story: This man chased down aggressive solvent abuser and helped with police arrest in Truro as chasing or raising the adrenaline levels of anyone high on butane gas will increase their risk of sudden death.)

Horror as Brit girl, 18, falls into a coma after inhaling laughing gas on night out in Malia: The youngster is thought to have been on the last night of her holiday to Crete.

Children as young as 12 reportedly using laughing gas in East Herts: ... Police recovered 674 canisters of laughing gas after breaking up an end of GCSE exams party in a field on the Standon Lordship.

Here's an insight into Colchester's compassionate approach to rough sleepers and vulnerable people with Community Day of Support: ... With addiction and solvent abuse fuelling offensive behaviour in town, there are plans to consult with off-licences so they can take a firmer line on who they sell to.

Illegal highs seized from underage teens in Newquay: Police in Newquay say they are safeguarding youngsters as alcohol and 'laughing gas' cannisters are seized from underage drinkers in the town.

And a note that, although helium is not a volatile substance, there have been 2 cases reported this month of children passing out from inhaling helium from balloons: McDonald’s issue warning in Scotland over helium balloons after two kids in 24 hours pass out inhaling the freebies. Re-Solv can provide information about helium use and safety guidance for organisations - our helpline is 01785 810762.

USA

A traffic accident caused by VSA was posted online in NY, while other VSA-associated arrests took place in ARFL, MA, OK, Stillwater OK, Tahlequah OK, Johnson City TN and Nashville TN.

AUSTRALIA

NT govt team combats youth Avgas sniffing: The Northern Territory government has established a special body to address the scourge of toxic aviation fuel sniffing amongst children in Aboriginal communities after some recorded blood lead levels 17 times above the safe rate.

NEW ZEALAND

Police suspect huffing caused explosion that left person with serious burns: An explosion inside a car that left a female with serious facial burns may have been caused by huffing, police say.

INDIA

Snake bite abuse rears its head in Mumbai again: ... "There is an alarming trend where school students, in uniforms, go out to purchase solvents like whitener or turpentine for abuse. Earlier, only street-dwellers used to buy these solvents for abuse. Solvents are not covered by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act so police prefer to to turn a blind eye to the issue," said Eldred Tellis, founder of NGO Sankalp that has been rehabilitating drug users.

CHINA

Student studying in U.S. returns to China in wheelchair because of laughing gas abuse: Chinese student Lin Na (not her real name) got hooked on a laughing gas while studying in the U.S., resulting in serious injury.