'Solvent abuse deaths double in Yorkshire'
Deaths from solvent abuse, which kill at least one young person a week, are rising faster in Yorkshire than anywhere else in the country. The number of young people who died from solvent abuse in this region doubled from five to ten during 2001, the latest period for which figures are available. That year, 63 youngsters under 18 died nationwide after sniffing solvents. Yorkshire’s rise means the region now accounts for 17 per cent of the total number of deaths from solvent abuse in the UK during 2001. In some areas, such as the North West, solvent abuse deaths are actually falling.
Pat Bleau, whose 16-year-old daughter, Chantelle, died in 1997, said more needed to be done to educate children about the dangers of solvent abuse. “Kids are experimenting and it is killing them. It’s quite staggering,” she said. The Chantelle Bleau Memorial was set up five years ago to warn children to stay away from a form of substance abuse which can kill first time, Mrs Bleau believes that the key to saving lives is education. “There hasn’t been a death in Bradford since Chantelle, and that’s because we are out there warning them of the dangers, but Yorkshire in general has got a problem,” she said.
What kids need to know is that it’s like Russian Roulette – most of them won’t die, but one of them will. That is the risk you take every time you do it,” she said.
Mrs Bleau, was instrumental in getting the age limit raised for teenagers buying butane gas from 16 to 18, said she thought the nozzles on aerosols should be changed to stop abuse.
Excerpt taken from article printed in the YORKSHIRE POST,
21st July 2003
'City success bucks the trend of death'
Yorkshire has suffered a 100 per cent increase in deaths from sniffing aerosols and gases – more than any other UK area – but none of these happened in Bradford. A national charity warned today that deaths from sniffing volatile substances in the region shot up from five to ten over a year. But a local Bradford charity believes no city deaths have occurred since it was formed after a 16-year-old girl died six years ago. Figures from 2001, the last year available, show that on average, more than one young person dies each week in the UK from sniffing – 63 in the year. Sniffing volatile substances is more deadly than the recreational drug ecstasy. Inhaling butane cigarette lighter refills accounts for about 64 per cent of these deaths in children under the age of 18.
In 1997 Chantelle Bleau, a pupil at Dixons City Technology College, Bradford, died after she sniffed lighter fuel. Her family and her church, set up the Chantelle Bleau Memorial Fund to try and prevent needless deaths by working with children in schools. Chantelle’s mother Pat Bleau today blamed the rise in deaths on ignorance. “We go round all the schools in Bradford and bring the story of Chantelle home,” she said. “There have been no deaths from sniffing in Bradford since then. “In the drugs curriculum in schools, sniffing is often not even mentioned.”
Excerpt taken from article printed in the Telegraph & Argus,
21st July 2003