Be aware of solvent abuse

AN awareness drive has been launched about the dangers of solvent abuse.

Anything that contains a volatile hydrocarbon has the potential to be misused, for example household items such as cigarette light refills, aerosols, air freshener, nail varnish and cleaning agents.

Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service is running the campaign for retailers, teachers and parents, and officers are stressing the importance of knowing the warning signs that young people may be experimenting with substances.

They include lack of co-ordination and coherence, slurred speech, rashes or spots around the nose and mouth, irritation of the throat, pale complexion and red, puffy and watery eyes.

The supply of certain products to people under the age of 18 is controlled by legislation. If retailers are found to be selling solvents to persons under the age of 18 and they know or have cause to believe that the substance is likely to be inhaled, then they will face investigation and potential prosecution.

Anyone with concerns can contact the service in confidence on 0845 6006400 or email at