Solvent Abuse - VSA is not prolifically reported by the media and unless you or someone you know has been affected the general thought is it's a ‘thing of the past’ especially as the last government campaign was in the 1990’s.
All too often Solvent Abuse - VSA is not specified in assessments by drug agencies with the expectation that their clients will mention their Solvent Abuse - VSA under the ‘any other drugs’ heading. As volatile substances are legal, ordinary, every day products consideration should also be given to the misapprenhension that users do not consider what they are doing is a form of drug abuse.
Butane (from all sources including aerosol propellants) accounted for 74% of Solvent Abuse - VSA deaths
Just over half (52%) of deaths occurred at home and 22% of deaths were recorded as having occurred in hospital, or as ‘dead on arrival’ at hospital. Nearly 9% died at the home of a family friend
In 2009 the youngest person to die was aged 15 and the oldest was aged 66 years old
The majority of deaths (72% overall and 80% in 2009) are due to the direct toxic effects
Although as an inert gas helium is not a volatile substance, the increasing number of deaths from helium has been recoreded by St Georges with 26 deaths in 2008 and 46 in 2009. 93% of helium-related deaths were suicides
St George’s University of London - Trends in UK deaths associated with abuse of volatile substances, 1971-2009
57,000 16-59 year-olds have used volatile substances in the past year 2010
The British Crime Survey for England & Wales 2009 - 2010
2.0% of adults aged 16 to 59 and 6.1% of 16 - 24 year olds had taken nitrous oxide in the last year
Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2012 to 2013 Crime Survey for England and Wales
The most commonly used substances amongst school pupils in England are cannabis and volatile substances
At younger ages, pupils are more likely to have taken volatile substances than cannabis. However, at age 13, whilst volatile substances were still the most common recently used drugs (at 4.7%)
European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Abuse
There was an overall decrease in the proportion of pupils being offered drugs from 42% in 2001 to 33% in 2009. Cannabis was the most commonly offered drug followed by volatile substances and poppers.
Health and Social Care Information Centre, Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2010