Wednesday, March 28, 2018

VSA Headlines - March 2018

64 deaths from VSA in GB last year

New research published this week from the Office for National Statistics and National Records of Scotland shows that deaths caused by VSA are significantly higher than previously thought.

Re-Solv has had concerns for some years that VSA mortality has been underestimated since the loss of the annual St George's report in 2012, which drew on coroners' reports to provide detailed analysis. So this work by the ONS to really investigate the true extent of deaths caused by gases, solvents and other volatile substances across Great Britain is very welcome.

"In 2016, there were 64 deaths related to volatile substances registered in Great Britain; over 80% of these volatile substance abuse (VSA) deaths were males.

"There were 834 deaths involving volatile substances registered between 2001 and 2016.

"Residents of Scotland and North East England had an increased risk of death related to VSA, when compared with Great Britain overall." (Read the full report here.)

The ONS note that 27% of all VSA deaths involve more than one substance (volatile or otherwise) and/or alcohol. As always, if you are working in substance misuse services, please assess for VS-use. Our Guidance and Assessment tool is available to download or give us a call on 01785 817885 for additional information and/or support.

Other headlines this month include:-


Popular teenager died of misadventure, inquest concludes: A grieving family and a coroner have warned of the “devastating” consequences of inhaling lighter fuel following the tragic death of a 15-year-old boy.

Thomas Cook aircraft engineer died surrounded by 'hippy crack' canisters: A 23-year-old aircraft engineer suffocated to death in his family home after inhaling nitrous oxide while wearing a military-style gas mask.

Tributes paid to ‘local champion’ ex-Wrekin MP Warren Hawksley [who] became Director at the Staffordshire-based substance abuse charity Re-Solv in 1998.

Number of people killed by glue sniffing and hippy crack soars by 15% in a year to claim 64 lives: More than 500 people have died inhaling helium in the past 15 years as glue sniffing and hippy crack fatalities soar by 15% in 12 months, new figures reveal.


Grieving mother shares story of son’s deadly addiction to huffing (MO): A grieving mother is sharing the story of her son's addiction to huffing to warn others of the potentially deadly dangers.

Couple charged with child abuse, giving 5-month-old inhalant (TX): Port Isabel Police arrested a couple they say sexually abused a baby and gave the infant an air inhalant.

16-year-old Wyoming driver killed in crash near Pinedale (WY): Authorities are investigating excessive speed, drug use and possible huffing in the wake of a crash which took the life of a 16-year-old near Pinedale on Thursday.

She’s been arrested 10 times since September — twice in the Keys. Now a man is dead: A North Carolina woman arrested twice in January for allegedly huffing aerosol cans in Marathon is now reportedly facing a felony death charge in her home state.

Man shot by San Bernardino police after he crashes into vehicle, reportedly pulls firearm at officers (CA): A man who police said was acting erratically and huffing aerosol was rushed into surgery after he was shot by San Bernardino police officers Thursday night.

Other vehicle and traffic incidents caused by VSA were reported in FLIN and OR, while other VSA-associated arrests took place in FL, MOMN, Greensburg PASpringettsbury Township PA, SCTX and WI.

Huffers hitting up homeowners' HVAC units for Freon (TN): People are going around to homes and sucking the chemical gas used as a refrigerant in HVAC systems to get high. It's called Freon huffing.

Legislators seek to include aerosol spray duster in DWI law (MN): In February, the Fox 9 Investigators exposed a dramatic rise in overdoses - some of them fatal - from huffing cans of spray-duster. The chemical in the cans is not covered by Minnesota DWI laws, so lawmakers are now taking steps to change that.

Michigan House of Representatives passes bill targeting 'whip-its' (MI): On Thursday, March 8, Michigan's house of representatives passed a package of bills limiting the sale and distribution of nitrous oxide containers.


Glue sniffing, ‘safe’ drugs no trivial matter, says Sarawak minister: Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Hamzah said the state’s fight against drugs is not helped by federal lawmakers’ failure to support its push for regulatory laws to curb glue sniffing and the abuse of non-scheduled drugs.


Boy remained in care of drug-addicted parents (NT): A 12-year-old boy who died sniffing aerosol cans remained in the care of his drug-addicted, alcoholic parents despite numerous warnings made to child protection agencies.