1. ITV Report

Solvent abuse: where to find help

Photo: Talk to Frank

Between 2000 and 2008, abusing glues, gases and aerosols killed more 10-15 year olds than all illegal drugs combined according to drug advice organisation Talk To Frank.

So what are the dangers of solvent abuse and where can help be found?

Breathing in a volatile substance can make you feel uninhibited, euphoric and dizzy. But the effect they have on your heart can cause death, even if it’s your first time (known as Sudden Sniffing Death).

– Talk To Frank

There are a number of dangers when abusing sprays and aerosols, including:

  • Mood swings, aggressive behaviour, hallucinations, vomiting and blackouts.
  • They can seriously affect your judgment
  • It can make your throat swell up so you can't breathe and it can slow down your heart and can cause a heart attack.
  • Some users die from passing out and choking on their own vomit.
  • Long-term abuse can damage the muscles, liver and kidneys.
  • Very long term use, such as ten years or more, can cause a lasting impairment of brain function (especially affecting how the brain controls body movement).
  • It can be hard to get the dose right. A little too much can result in a coma or even death.
  • Unsteadiness, disorientation/confusion and fainting can all contribute to the risk of accidents which are implicated in a number of the deaths.
  • Many products are flammable and there is a risk of burns and explosions, especially if someone is smoking nearby or if in an enclosed space.

You can find more information and advice around solvent abuse at the following places: