Annual deaths from solvent abuse in the UK rise from 38 to 46

November 16, 2012, St. George's University of London

(Medical Xpress)—Deaths from solvent abuse rose to 46 in 2009 from 38 in 2008, according to a new report on the latest UK figures released today (Friday 16 November).

The report outlines deaths from volatile substances – solvent-based products such as gas fuels, , glues, and anaesthetic agents – that occurred in 2009.

In 2009, gas fuels continued to be associated with the majority of deaths, with butane accounting for 34 out of the total 46.

Five deaths in 2009 – up from two in 2008 – were the result of asphyxia associated with the inhalation of , often known as ''.

In addition to volatile substances, the report outlines deaths related to helium, which as an is not classed as a volatile substance. These rose from 26 in 2008 to 46 in 2009, with the majority being classed as suicide caused by .

The figures have been revealed today in the latest Trends in Death Associated with Abuse of Volatile Substances report, compiled by the International Centre for Drug (ICDP) Policy at St George's, University of London. Some of the ICDP members who wrote the report are based at the University of Hertfordshire.

The report shows volatile substance-related deaths occurring in 2009 that have been formally investigated. It details where a type of substance is implicated as a cause of death, either on its own or in combination with another substance.

The contains information reported by coroners in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, as well as procurators fiscal in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Although there was an overall year-on-year rise from 2008 to 2009, over the last two decades there has been a significant decline in deaths from a peak of 152 in 1990.

Deaths in Scotland were disproportionately high, with 17 in 2009. This compares to 25 in England, three in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.

Volatile substance deaths continue to be more common among males than females, with 34 and 12 deaths respectively. 

As in previous years over the last decade, the largest proportion of deaths was of people aged between 30 and 39, with 14 altogether in 2009. This continues a trend of deaths increasing among older people while declining in those under 18.

Professor Hamid Ghodse, director of the ICDP, said: "Although deaths from volatile substances are lower in number than fatalities related to drugs such as opiates and stimulants, they are still an important cause of premature mortality and equal care should be taken in preventive measures.

"It's particularly worrying that psychoactive agents are being newly abused in the recreational scene, for example nitrous oxide. There might be a misconception that nitrous oxide is relatively safe, but its use carries the potential for adverse health consequences and possibly even . "

Explore further: Annual UK drug deaths fall by 14 percent, while deaths related to 'legal highs' increase

More information: www.sgul.ac.uk/research/projec … stance-abuse-deaths/

Related Stories

Annual UK drug deaths fall by 14 percent, while deaths related to 'legal highs' increase

November 7, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Deaths related to a group of now-banned 'legal highs' rose sharply from 5 in 2009 to 43 in 2010, reveals a report on the latest UK drug death figures released today. While deaths involving methcathinones ...

Thousands of lives could be saved if rest of UK adopted average diet in England

November 3, 2011
Around 4,000 deaths could be prevented every year if the UK population adopted the average diet eaten in England, concludes research published in BMJ Open.

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.