Solvent abuse

* Waste firm claims it is getting reports of bins being burned out across the country

* It believes youngsters are getting high from the fumes the burning bins create

* Certain dyes that makes the bins green can help people ‘get wasted’

* It’s 10 years since this ‘craze’ was last seen in the UK, when it his south Yorkshire

Children are burning bins and ‘getting high off the fumes’ in the latest drug craze which could be more dangerous than sniffing glue or petrol.

According to a waste management company, kids are setting plastic wheelie bins alight and then getting high on the fumes.  The experts say there are certain fumes created in the bin by the dyes which users can ‘get wasted’ from.

Officials at the firm say they have had reports from around Britain of youths burning wheelie bins to sniff the smoke.   Mark Hall, from waste firm, said cases were up 100 per cent in the last few months.  He said: ‘We’ve seen reports from Wolverhampton, Hull, Glasgow and Swindon over recent weeks, and they’re all the same.

‘Idiots stealing wheeled bins from outside homes and businesses, taking them to waste ground or parks, and torching them for whatever kicks they can derive.  ‘While some of them could just be arson, others include quotes from police officers who acknowledge that they’re doing it for weird drug-related kicks.’

The company has received ‘hundreds’ of reports from clients who discovered ruined bins.

He said ‘There was a craze about ten years ago and it died out.  ‘All of a sudden we are getting reports again. We have got a huge amount of them being burnt at the moment.  ‘It is growing – there is 100 per cent more than there was last month.’

The trend surfaced a decade ago in South Yorkshire but appeared to have made a revival, he said.  In 2007 South Yorkshire Police issued a warning to leave bins alone after 40 bins went up in smoke in the space of four months.

The risk of aerosol cans being contained in the rubbish, which could explode if they came into contact with fire, is high, particularly on business premises.  Anti-solvent abuse charities said inhaling the bin fumes could be more dangerous than sniffing glue or petrol.

Mr Hall said many people were not reporting the bin fires to police, making it hard to provide statistics on the crimes.  He said: ‘Just one aerosol might cause a potentially fatal explosion.’ And bins stolen from business premises could contain just about anything that can cause fatal injury to the unwary.  ‘Our people are sick of having to scrape melted plastic from pavements and parks, and our clients hate the inconvenience of having their bins stolen.’

The trend first surfaced about 10 years ago, and was a particular problem in south Yorkshire, but died out. It appears to have reared its head again

Stephen Ream, a spokesman for solvent abuse charity Re-Solv, said: ‘It would be very dangerous, it sounds like it would make you sick before you got high. ‘The fumes it would give off would be toxic.’

In 2007 it was reported that in Scotland it is known for people to burn bus shelters to get the same effect.   The craze was behind more than fifty bin fires in Barnsley, Yorkshire.

PC Jonathan Reed, of South Yorkshire Police, said in 2007 that officers were looking at ways to lock up the bins.  He said: ‘It is the drug of choice, setting fire to the bins and inhaling the fumes.  ‘The health and safety implications are terrible. It is only a matter of time before someone harms themselves.’

Wheelie bins are made from high density polyethylene – composed of double-bonded carbon and hydrogen molecules.  Burning an empty one releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

These deadly gases starve the brain of oxygen, giving a headache-heavy short high.

Source:   23rd  March 2017 

The two pals are believed to have taken deadly GBL, a solvent found in paint strippers and chillingly known on the club scene as “coma in a bottle”

A heartbroken mum yesterday warned that Britain faces a new epidemic after banned party drug GBL was blamed for killing two friends within hours.

Carl Fearon, 24, was found dead at his flat at about 1pm on Saturday afternoon.

Just eight hours later, mum-of-one Lynette Nock, 28, died at a memorial wake held by his friends.

The two pals are believed to have taken deadly GBL, a solvent found in paint strippers and chillingly known on the club scene as “coma in a bottle”.

The tragedy comes exactly three years after medical student Hester Stewart, 21, was found dead at a house in Brighton after a party.

Police found a bottle of GBL next to her body.

Hester’s mum Maryon Stewart, who went on to launch drug awareness charity the Angelus Foundation, said yesterday: “They are not drugs, they are chemicals and when you take them you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life.

But you can’t control something like paint stripper because it has legitimate uses. When you ban one of these things probably a dozen others pop up to replace it.

“Last year 49 new substances appeared and no one really knows what’s in them. This is a major epidemic.

 “The Home Office should be taking responsibility to protect young people and raise awareness. There were directives from Europe 18 months before Hester died but nothing was done.’

 “Sadly, the message has still not filtered through and the same thing has happened and I’m deeply saddened.”

Electrical engineer Carl was found dead at his flat in Birmingham . Friends said he collapsed after taking GBL the previous night.

When word of his death spread, pals hosted a wake at a house in the city on Saturday night at which accountant Lynette collapsed.

Neighbour Emma Heath, 24, said: “I heard they put it in a Fanta bottle and several of them ended up being taken to hospital.” Lynette’s heartbroken father Dave, 69, yesterday paid tribute to his daughter and called for something to be done about GBL, describing it as “a lethal drug, a killer”. He says he fears Lynette’s drink may have been spiked, adding: “If Lynette had GBL in her system, did she and the others at that party ingest it without knowing what they were taking? Was it that their drink was spiked? From what I’ve read, this GBL has no taste and no smell.”

Det Insp Andy Hawkins said: “We believe the controlled substance Gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, may have been used as a drug at the gathering.” A spokesman for drugs charity FRANK said: “GBL is a dangerous drug with sedative and anaesthetic effects that can produce feelings of euphoria and can cause drowsiness. “It can kill.”

“It can do almost anything”: Analysis by drugs policy expert Dr Jonathan Cave

THE body converts GBL to date rape drug GHB, and because of how it is converted, GBL takes effect more quickly. It’s often advertised as a nutritional supplement but is harmful. GBL is unpredictable because it can do almost anything. It can have a mild effect, give people a headache or in some cases do a lot worse. It’s not directly toxic but the people to whom it is toxic won’t know until they take it. Some get addicted and take it 24 hours a day.

GBL, or Gamma-Butyrolactone, is known as “coma in a bottle”. It is used as paint stripper and was banned for consumption in 2009.

GBL is odourless and tasteless when diluted and is sold online for as little as 50p a shot.

The effect is similar to ecstasy but there is a high risk of overdosing.  Some users say it feels as if their muscles are being torn apart.  Medics say it kills six a year, damages organs and leads to psychosis.  It is related to banned date rape drug GHB.

Source:  2 May 2012




As this review comments, people treated for substance use often remain precariously balanced between recovery and relapse. Widely seen as valuable if not essential, aftercare is nevertheless more the exception than the rule. How to reverse that ratio is the issue addressed by these leading US analysts.

Continuing care or aftercare is the stage of treatment following initial, more intensive, treatment. This review focused on psychosocial continuing care interventions (such as individual, telephone, couples, and group therapy; case management; home visits; and brief check-ups) and 12-step mutual aid support groups. Studies of brief continuing care interventions (up to six months) have usually involved standard programmes provided after residential treatment. In contrast, most longer interventions are adapt their frequency or nature in response to systematic assessments of how well the client is doing.

Despite a broadly supportive research record, few efforts have been made to implement and sustain these interventions, and in practice few clients who might benefit from continuing care services actually receive a sufficient dose, either because they do not complete the initial treatment, do not start continuing care, or do not remain in it for a significant time. Among other things, this review seeks to better understand this discrepancy and make recommendations for future implementation efforts.

Effectiveness of continuing care
Though this review and studies have focused on either continuing care treatment or mutual aid groups, it should be remembered that many individuals participate in both and that using both sources of support is associated with improved treatment outcomes.

Studies have shown that receiving continuing care services is generally but not always associated with improved long-term substance use outcomes. This small and varied corpus of studies precludes conclusions about which approaches work best. However, the findings support certain general principles. Among these are increasing the duration of care to at least a year, ongoing monitoring of clients, reaching out actively to engage and link clients to care, and using incentives to improve treatment outcomes. Relatively low-cost practices can dramatically improve rates of sustained engagement in continuing care such as low level incentives and active outreach following discharge or drop-out. In contrast, the theoretical orientation and intensity of the interventions appear less important.

As well as or instead of continuing care treatment services, mutual aid groups are important continuing care resources. The most prevalent like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous follow 12-step principles. Several studies have shown that attending these groups after initial treatment is associated with positive substance use outcomes, though they are unable to prove that attendance causes these gains. Additional to attendance as such, being more involved in the groups (such as getting a sponsor or reading 12-step literature) has also been associated with better substance use outcomes. In practice though, while most US patients start attending groups, most of these are no longer attending a year later.

Interventions to promote participation in 12-step mutual aid groups can be traced to the Twelve Step Facilitation therapy trialled in Project MATCH. This large US study of treatment for alcohol dependence found this approach achieved significantly higher rates of continuous abstinence (and equivalent outcomes on other drinking measures) than cognitive-behavioural therapy and a therapy based on motivational interviewing, and did so because it led more patients to engage in 12-step activities. Similar results have emerged from other studies.

Implementing continuing care
A search for studies not of the effectiveness of continuing care, but of how to implement it, uncovered 28 relevant articles and others known to the authors of the review or referenced in the literature. To organise the analysis of these studies, the reviewers used the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. In respect of health care innovations in general, this model identifies five implementation domains, each divided in to several sub-domains. The five main domains with relevant examples are:

• Characteristics of the intervention (in this case, continuing care) such as the strength of the evidence for its effectiveness and how far it was adapted to fit the particular circumstances in which it was being implemented.

• Outer setting, which refers to the economic, political, and social environment surrounding and influencing the organisation undertaking the implementation – in this case, typically substance use treatment services; included here might be national political drivers, availability of funding, the demand from patients, and (especially in the case of 12-step groups) the degree to which the broader society is receptive to the intervention’s philosophy.
• Inner setting is pertinent features of the implementing organisation including the degree to which its structures, internal communication mechanisms, resources, leadership, and culture facilitate the adoption of continuing care or the particular continuing care intervention being implemented.
• Characteristics of the individuals conducting the intervention – in this case, typically addiction counsellors – such as what they believe about the intervention and how enthusiastic and ready they are to implement it.
• Process of implementation – the extent and quality of the implementation effort, including the degree to which relevant staff are actively engaged, the efficiency with which the implementation is carried out, the extent to which progress is appropriately monitored against specific goals and progress news fed back to the participants, and the extent to which this feedback is used to adapt and promote implementation.


Generally the few relevant studies have not developed or supported specific packages to promote continuing care implementation. The one clear example of a specific and manualised intervention is Twelve Step Facilitation therapy, an approach which has been successfully adapted to different circumstances and populations. More general evidence-based interventions for promoting mutual aid participation typically entail active and directive efforts to engage and retain clients, including education on the benefits of the groups, orientation to involvement with these groups, and connection with group members to help motivate involvement following initial treatment.

In more detail and organised under the main headings of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, research offers the following guidance.

Intervention Characteristics Clinicians generally know that the evidence for continuing care is strong yet often continue to use interventions and practices without empirical support. A significant number of studies suggest that many interventions can be adapted to the needs of specific sites. Twelve Step Facilitation therapy has for example been successfully adapted to a group format, to focus on individuals’ broader social networks rather than just 12-step groups, and to accommodate individuals with mental health as well as substance use problems. Similarly, treatment-based continuing care efforts have been conducted successfully using telephone and home-based visits and with different types of providers. One difficulty is the relative complexity of such interventions. Knowledge gaps include the relative advantages and cost-effectiveness of different continuing care interventions, and what are their core or essential components as opposed to those which can safely be adapted.

Outer Setting

The most frequently cited factors related to successful continuing care implementation are located in the outer setting domain, especially the importance of client characteristics such as their needs and resources to support continuing care involvement. African-Americans (compared to Caucasians), and clients with more severe substance use problems, are more likely to engage in continuing care for a longer time. Psychiatric disorders seem no barrier to engagement in continuing care. Patients who see staff members as supportive and have more recovery resources are more likely to engage in treatment-based continuing care. Clients with beliefs consistent with a disease model or spiritual approach to recovery, women, and those with less prior experience with 12-step groups, may be more easily engaged in mutual aid groups, and those mandated to attend by courts may do as well as those who are not. In addition to client characteristics, the convenience of continuing care is an important facilitating factor while lack of funding is a common and significant barrier. Additionally, inviting mutual aid group members to contact patients in the initial treatment service facilitates post-treatment linkages. The role of external incentives and policies appears to be an extremely important area for future implementation efforts to address and better understand.

Inner Setting

Focusing on the treatment service, those oriented to 12-step approaches facilitate linkage to 12-step mutual aid. Low rates of staff and supervisor turnover and multi-stakeholder involvement are important to sustaining continuing care treatment interventions. Goals or benchmarks that allow programmes to monitor performance and modify interventions in response are important factors in successful continuing care implementation. Mutual aid group engagement is facilitated by strong therapeutic alliances, greater supportiveness, and spirituality during initial treatment. Use of incentives with staff to promote implementation of continuing care practices appear to be a potentially powerful, but underused facilitator. Little is known about the implementation climate, including goals and benchmarks for continuing care interventions, or about the role of programme readiness for change (eg, resources and knowledge) as they relate to continuing care implementation.

Characteristics of the individual provider Treatment and mutual aid continuing care implementation are facilitated by providers and programme leaders with beliefs and attitudes supportive of the particular intervention, while a lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of interventions can be a significant barrier. Additionally, clinicians who are in recovery themselves, who have fewer concerns about religion or spirituality as a part of treatment, without allegiance to non-12-step approaches to treatment, and those who require abstinence during treatment, are more likely to facilitate 12-step mutual aid involvement following treatment. It is clear that future implementation efforts will need to address important characteristics such as the knowledge, beliefs, motivation, and self-efficacy of both providers and clients to maximise the potential for implementation success.

Implementation Process

Successful continuing care implementation efforts have tended to address the important constructs of planning, engaging, executing, and reflecting and evaluating implementation efforts. These activities will be critical in the development and testing of implementation strategies.

Implication for researchers and clinicians
Having summarised continuing care implementation research, the review ended by drawing out the implications of these findings for researchers and clinicians. Though scarce, viewed through the lens of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, existing research provides a starting point for closing the gap between research and clinical practice. Formative evaluations intended to develop interventions to promote continuing care should be informed by this literature, and these evaluations should address all five domains, or deploy other comprehensive implementation models. Additionally, two primary recommendations emerge from this review.

Basic Continuing Care Implementation

Research is needed despite its clinical importance, continuing care implementation research has been relatively neglected. Both the treatment and mutual aid continuing care implementation literature have findings relevant to all five major domains of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, but all the detailed strategies and factors within each domain have yet to be addressed. One of the most striking gaps is the lack of information on the relative advantages, disadvantages, and cost-effectiveness of continuing care interventions. Little is known too about and their core elements and the impact of incentives and/or consequences related to both the inner setting and outer setting domains.

Implementation Efforts Need to Address Multiple Domains

The comprehensiveness of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research highlights that implementation efforts typically do not consider the importance of intervening across multiple domains. For instance, as already noted, the role of incentives and consequences in the inner setting and outer setting domains and at patient, counsellor and programme level, has been neglected. This review suggests that closing the gap between knowledge about continuing care interventions and their use will require a paradigm change in which both researchers and clinicians consider intervening across multiple domains rather than within a single domain, as has been typical thus far. Research-established interventions may have too few implementation facilitators and too many barriers for them to be adopted in particular settings without attention to all the relevant domains.

People treated for substance use often remain precariously balanced between recovery and relapse following initial treatment. As currently designed, the utility of treatment is limited by high post-treatment relapse and re-admission rates, and frequently prolonged addiction and treatment careers. Assertive linkage to continuing care helps individuals transition from brief experiments in sobriety (recovery initiation) to disease management and sustainable recovery maintenance, and an enhanced quality of life. It requires close connections between the worlds of professional treatment and community recovery support resources, and implementation of continuing care promotion procedures to enhance engagement and retention with these resources.

In the UK financial constraints and the recovery agenda have brought with them potentially conflicting expectations that treatment will end as soon as the patient seems able to manage on their own and rarely extend over years, yet will do more to reintegrate patients in society. More patients exiting briefer treatments would create an increasing potential caseload for aftercare services to ensure they remain safe and can rapidly re-enter treatment if relapse occurs or is threatened. How this configuration of forces will pan out and what it will mean for extended care in the form of aftercare or continuing care is unclear. Funders seeking to contain costs and maximise drug-free treatment exits may be reluctant to fund aftercare services, especially since UK research evidence that they make a difference is lacking, probably because studies have been few. On the other hand, low-cost, check-up style aftercare allied with free mutual aid groups may make it more acceptable to cut back on intensive and expensive initial treatment. These considerations are expanded on below.

The main recent British attempt to evaluate the contribution of aftercare was an analysis of the Scottish DORIS study. On several measures, it found that the few drug dependent patients who accessed aftercare after treatment in the early 2000s did better than the majority left to (or who chose to) fend on their own. However, it was unclear whether this could this be attributed to the aftercare, or whether these patients would have done well anyway. An attempt to statistically control for differences between patients still left recently being heroin free at the last 33-month follow-up associated with having received aftercare from the initial treatment agency. Having received aftercare following methadone maintenance or residential rehabilitation made little difference to whether patients had experienced a period of being entirely drug free. But consistently at each of the three follow-ups, aftercare following non-methadone community treatment like detoxification or psychosocial therapy was associated with about double the chance of having been drug free.

Formal aftercare from the treatment agency was not the only way patients sought to sustain their abstinence. Over the 33 months of the follow-up, nearly a quarter attended mutual aid groups like NA and AA. At each of the follow-ups, patients who had accessed aftercare and mutual aid were most likely to have been drug free for a period, generally those who accessed neither were least likely, and those who accessed one but not the other were in between. Whatever the meaning of these findings for aftercare’s effectiveness, it was clear that few patients received it, and neither was it targeted at those most at risk of relapse.

An English study of problem drinkers could more securely attribute the results to aftercare enhancements, because patients were randomly allocated to normal aftercare – up to three weekly support groups plus access to the unit’s recreational and social facilities – or to an additional 15 individual sessions modelled on an influential US approach called Early Warning Signs Relapse Prevention Training. During this, patients are helped to recognise personal warning signs of relapse by analysing their most recent attempts at recovery, and then to develop ways to manage these episodes without a return to drinking. Over the following year the benefits of more intensive aftercare were reflected in significantly fewer drinking days (22% of warning sign patients drank on a fifth or more of days compared to 40% in usual aftercare), fewer heavy drinking days (corresponding figures 18% and 28%), avoidance of any return to heavy drinking (45% v 26%), and improved mental well-being. In monetary terms, warning sign patients absorbed slightly less health service and rehabilitation resources, though slightly more if the warning sign regime was itself costed in. However, neither difference approached statistical significance.

In agreement with the featured review was a review of 11 studies which allocated patients at random or in a quasi-random manner to continuing care versus minimal or no continuing care. In terms of each study’s main substance use outcome measures, seven of the 11 found a clear and statistically significant advantage for continuing care. The review’s conclusions were endorsed by a panel of experts convened by the US Betty Ford Institute, who argued that extended and regular monitoring of the patient’s progress was the key component of continuing care and the one with the greatest evidence of effectiveness. Both review and recommendations were based largely on studies of aftercare following residential treatment.

While international and to a degree UK research is at least consistent with aftercare often being an aid to lasting remission, recommendations that it be implemented run up against a strong contrary trend in current UK policy, which emphasises not continuing care, but exit from the treatment system. Without denying the need for long-term care for some patients, the English strategy on drug misuse said services needed “to become much more ambitious for individuals to leave treatment free of their drug or alcohol dependence so they can recover fully … We will ensure that all those on a substitute prescription engage in recovery activities and build upon the 15,000 heroin and crack cocaine users who successfully leave treatment every year free of their drug(s) of dependence”. Scotland’s strategy too stressed the need for more patients to “move on from their addiction towards a drug-free life as a contributing member of society”, implying a corresponding shift away from extended and/or indefinite treatment.

Set against this drive to contain treatment, the recovery agenda has brought with it a greater emphasis on sustained and extensive life change, and an accompanying expectation that treatment services will do more for their patients than a brief treatment for their addiction. At the same time resources are no longer increasing and probably diminishing overall. One way to square this circle is to draw on the free resource of mutual aid groups which offer former patients 24-hour access to support, frequent support meetings, a new social circle, and a new way of life. It comes therefore as no surprise that they feature in recent commissioning guidance from England’s National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, which sees them as providing “valuable support and positive social networks for individuals who are addressing their dependency through treatment”. The advice to services is that “Details of how clients can access local recovery networks should be made available throughout their treatment journey. Services may wish to consider more active engagement with local mutual aid groups, for example making rooms within the treatment service or prisons available for meetings”. The agency now sees (see annual reports for 2009–10 and 2010–11) promoting mutual aid networks as a key way to achieve its objectives. Local service commissioners are being called on to ensure that the treatment system is better integrated with wider supportive services, among which mutual aid organisations are seen as the most prominent.

Source Psychology of Addictive Behaviors: 2011, 25(2), p. 238–251.

Combined data from SAMHSA’s 2002 to 2005 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health found an annual average of 1.1 million (4.5%) youths aged 12 to 17 used an inhalant in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. About 2.6% of all youth who had not used inhalants before were new users (that is, had used an inhalant for the first time in the past year. The annual average of new users was 600,000 youth (289,000 males and 311,000 females).
The types of inhalants most frequently mentioned as having been used in the past year by new users were: glue, shoe polish, or toluene (30.5%), gasoline or lighter fluid (25.3%), nitrous oxide or “whippets” (23.9%), and spray paints (23.5%).
Among new inhalants users, females were more likely than males to have used: glue, shoe polish, or toluene (34.9% vs. 25.8%); spray paints (26.1% vs. 20.8%); aerosol sprays other than spray paints (23.0% vs. 16.4%); correction fluid, degreaser, or cleaning fluid (23.4% vs. 13.6%); and amy nitrite, “poppers,” locker room odorizers, or “rush” (18.2% vs. 11.6%).
New male inhalant users were more likely than females to have used nitrous oxide or “whippets” (29.0% vs.19.3%). Between 2002 and 2005, use of nitrous oxide or whippets declined among new inhalant users (from 31.6% to 21.3% in 2005). In contrast, use of aerosol sprays other than spray paints doubled from 12.6% of new inhalant using youth in 2002 to 25.4% of new inhalant using youth in 2005.

Source: The NSDUH Report: Patterns and Trends in Inhalant Use by Adolescent Males and Females, 2002-2005

Filed under: Solvent abuse,Youth :

Gamma butyrolactone (GBL), an industrial solvent commonly used to clean graffiti, also has a darker purpose: the liquid can cause a euphoric high — or death — when ingested.
that GBL has become a popular intoxicant on the gay club scene, with sometimes deadly consequences. The drug can cause nausea and unconsciousness if too much is consumed. Users also risk damage to their stomachs, liver, and kidneys from ingesting the toxic solvent.
“This is vastly more dangerous than ecstasy,” says Sean Cummings, who runs the Freedom Health clinic in London. “I personally know of two deaths this year alone, and the numbers using it are much smaller than ecstasy. The penetration into the [straight clubbing] mainstream is relatively small at the moment and if it spreads, the number of deaths associated with it is going to increase.”
Even now, it is fairly common for gay clubbers to collapse from GBL use; one ambulance service alone answered 16 GBL-related calls on one recent Saturday night. “One minute I was dancing, the next I woke up in hospital and the nurse said I had been resuscitated,” said GBL user Sergio, 33. “I got such a shock. My friend told me I had collapsed and security staff at the club were reluctant to call an ambulance. But another guy was monitoring my pulse and said it was dropping so my friend called an ambulance himself, and I’m forever in his debt that he did.
“I had taken G before, but that night I had drunk alcohol earlier and I think that’s what made me overdose. It’s a great high, but never again.”Source: The BBC reported Oct. 7 2008

Filed under: Solvent abuse :

Health officials are warning parents that more teenagers are mixing stimulants like Ritalin with inhalants like correction fluid and room deodorizers, the Cincinnati Post reported March 25.According to health officials, there has been a rise in the number of teens and children as young as age 10 who have died from the drug combination.

“I would be primarily and most concerned about a potential fatal interaction, [with] the Ritalin having an adrenalin-like effect [enhancing] the possibility of Sudden Sniffing Death in the individual huffing the correction fluid,” said Dr. Earl Siegel, co-director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

According to Siegel, the combination of Ritalin and “huffing” disturbs heart rhythm.

Source:Cincinnati Post March 2004

Filed under: Solvent abuse,Youth :

The fumes from glue, lighters, and solvents that children and young adults inhale go straight to the same brain regions that are stimulated by cocaine and other drugs. researchers said yesterday in a study that shed light on the appeal of “huffing.” Brain scans show that chemicals such as toluene move very quickly to pleasure centers then move out to other brain cells, causing the damage that can make sniffers lose their memory, suffer vision problems, and eventually develop serious mental defects.

Source: 2002.
Filed under: Solvent abuse :

The influence of family and peers on adolescent substance abuse has been well documented in the scientific literature. Generally, positive family influences, such as family bonding and consistent rules, appear to reduce the risk of tobacco, marijuana, and other drug abuse among teens, while negative family influences tend to increase risk. The same is true of positive and negative peer factors. Little research, however, has been conducted to see how parental and peer factors interact to influence adolescents’ initiation to and young adults’ use of drugs.

Two new NIDA-funded studies–one looking at initiation of substance use, the other at continued substance abuse–show that some aspects of family and peer influences remain potent from early initiation into young adulthood and across socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender lines. Both studies yielded surprises and implications for intervention. For example, the first study found that although family and peer factors had similar effects on males and females, family monitoring and rules had a stronger protective effect for males than females. The second study found that for either gender, peer influence was not mediated by the quality of the relationship, except for female peer influence on young adult marijuana use.

Impact of Family on Teens’ Initiation to Drugs
University of Washington researchers recruited 808 5th-graders from 18 Seattle elementary schools in high-crime areas and followed them from ages 12 to 21 to see how peer, family, and sociodemographic factors interacted to influence drug initiation.

As part of an ongoing NIDA study directed by Dr. J. David Hawkins, data from this group were gathered annually through age 16 and again at 18 and 21. The sample included a high proportion of low-income families, “but not all children came from homes in high-risk neighborhoods,” says Dr. Karl Hill, one of the study’s authors. Of concern were the extent of bonding to family, family involvement (time spent interacting with parents), family conflict resolution and parenting practices (monitoring, rules, and consistent discipline), peers’ prosocial and antisocial activities, and measures of use for tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, and psychedelics.

Initiation of illicit drug use for the entire study group was 4.6 percent by age 12, 8.4 percent by age 13, 12.6 percent by age 18, and 40.5 percent by age 21. By age 21, 45.4 percent of male participants had initiated illicit drug use, as had 35.5 percent of females. Native Americans had the highest rate of initiation, at 55.9 percent, compared to 53.6 percent of European Americans, 33.3 percent of African Americans, and 14.6 percent of Asian Americans.

All of the measured family factors were influential, with the terms low level referring to families in the lowest 10 percent for a specific factor and high level referring to those in the highest 10 percent. Higher levels of family monitoring and rules were associated with a “significantly” lower risk of illicit drug initiation, according to Dr. Hill. For example, youths with low levels of family monitoring and rules at age 18 were twice as likely (14 percent versus 7 percent) to initiate illicit drugs as those with high family monitoring. The same was true for a higher level of moderate and consistent family discipline–youths with low consistent family discipline were over twice as likely (15 percent versus 6 percent) at age 18 to initiate illicit drugs as those with high consistent family discipline.

Family Bonding and Peer Antisocial Activity Impact Drug Initiation Among Adolescents

Low levels of family bonding and high levels of peer antisocial activity were consistently associated with higher prevalence of illicit drug initiation among youths ages 12 to 21 compared with prevalence seen when high levels of family bonding and low levels of peer antisocial activity were present. By age 21, however, a high level of family bonding had far less impact than in earlier years on adolescent drug initiation.

Family bonding was particularly influential before the age of 18–youths with low family bonding at age 15 were three times more likely (9 percent versus 3 percent) to initiate illicit drugs than those with high family bonding. Higher levels of family conflict were associated with a higher risk of initiation. For example, youths with high family conflict at age 18 were over twice as likely (15 percent versus 6 percent) to initiate illicit drugs as those with low family conflict. High levels of peer antisocial activity, especially after age 15, found youths at age 18 nearly four times as likely (19 percent versus 5 percent) to initiate illicit drugs as those with low antisocial peer influence (in the bottom 10 percent).

Family monitoring and rules seemed to reduce the risk of initiation primarily by affecting the child’s choice of peer groups. “Some family factors operate through peers and some are independent of peer groups,” Dr. Hill explains. “Kids with low bonding to parents are more likely to get involved with narcotics and stimulants, even if they don’t hang out with bad peers. So you end up with this set of independent risks with high family conflict, low bonding, and bad peer involvement. All these things stack the deck toward initiation of serious drug use.

“In general, family and peer factors had similar effects on boys and girls,” Dr. Hill observes. “Only family monitoring and rules had a stronger protective effect for males than for females.” Family monitoring and bonding were more predictive for European Americans than for African Americans. Otherwise, says Dr. Hill, “family and peer factors affecting illicit drug initiation were similar across gender and ethnic groups.”

The message is clear: Family factors matter. “The impact of only one factor–family bonding–begins to decline after age 18,” Dr. Hill says. Peer factors also matter. Having antisocial peers, especially after age 15, increases the risk of drug initiation. “Both sets of influences contribute,” he says, “even after controlling for sociodemographic background and prior alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana initiation.”

In terms of intervention, “family and peer factors should be important targets for preventive efforts,” Dr. Hill says. The effort should start early and continue into the twenties, emphasizing family bonding early and family monitoring, rules, and reduction of conflict throughout. “Programs that address these family and peer factors should work relatively well across gender and ethnic groups,” he concludes.

Influence of Peers on Young Adults’ Substance Abuse
Another NIDA-funded study took a slightly different path, looking at peer influence on young adults. As part of a long-range study led by Dr. Hyman Hops of the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon, the researchers gathered data from 294 participants ages 19 to 25. Each participant brought one same-sex and one opposite-sex peer into the study; those who were married brought their marital partner as their opposite-sex peer. Data gathered annually for 3 years included the quality of these relationships, the extent of any substance abuse, and the problems associated with drug use.

At the beginning of the study, 30 percent of the 294 participants had smoked cigarettes, 29 percent had smoked marijuana in the previous month, 10 percent had used other illicit drugs, and 41 percent reported problems associated with drug use in the previous 12 months. Thirty-nine percent had not used any drugs in the period specified. Men who smoked marijuana did so, on average, more often than female marijuana smokers did–an average of 5.5 times per month versus women’s average of 2.7 times a month. “Other differences between genders were not significant,” says Dr. Judy Andrews, lead author of the Oregon team. “Correlations between various substances were moderate.”

Quality of Female Peer Relationship Impacts Young Adult Marijuana Use

Each participant brought one same-sex and one opposite-sex peer into this study; participants who were married brought their spouse as their opposite-sex peer. The quality of the relationship with a female peer was a factor in young adults’ marijuana use; with young adults’ use of other substances, however, the quality of the peer relationship was not a factor.

Use of drugs by male peers positively influenced subsequent use by both men and women. “I expected females, in general, to be more influenced by males than by females,” Dr. Andrews says, “and we found that to be true only in cases where the user reported problems associated with drug use. For example, friends of both genders also influenced both males’ and females’ subsequent cigarette smoking.”

Another surprise emerged in the effect of good versus bad peer relationships. In general, the quality of the relationship with the friend did not matter when it came to substance use. “We expected that peer influence would be mediated by the quality of that relationship,” explains Dr. Andrews. “If you don’t like somebody, why would you emulate him or her? But we found this effect only with marijuana use when the peer was female. Good female friends influenced the marijuana use of both males and females. But if the good friend was male, he did not influence the marijuana use of either his male or female friend.”

Again, the overall message is clear: Young adults are influenced by their friends. “It’s an important finding,” observes Dr. Andrews. “Interventions with substance-abusing young adults should not only be with individuals, but with their peers as well.”

“We are continuing to see family and peer effects into early adulthood,” says Dr. Kathleen Etz of NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. “People assume that families become less important as kids move out of the house, and this does not appear to be the case.

“Many of our interventions target adolescents and very few target young adults. Given that in the Oregon Research Institute study marijuana use was initiated after high school, it’s clear that we have to look more carefully at interventions for young adulthood.”

Sources:Andrews, J.A.; Tildesley, E.; Hops, H.; and Li, F. The influence of peers on young adult substance use.
Health Psychology 21(4):349-357, 2002.Guo, J.; Hill, K.G.; et al. A developmental analysis of sociodemographic, family,
and peer effects on adolescent illicit drug initiation. Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 41(7):838-845, 2002.
Volume 18, Number 2 (August 2003)

Filed under: Solvent abuse,Youth :

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