A CLASS Two student of a prominent school in Suva is among some 598 primary and secondary school students in urban areas who were victims of glue sniffing last year.
The National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) made this revelation as it sounded the alarm of experts identifying glue sniffing as one of the major threats in schools in Fiji.
In an interview with The Fiji Times, NSAAC director Misaele Driubalavu said glue sniffing in schools continued to increase, and noted the two glue brands, PVC and Dunlop, being the mostly used brands by students.
Mr Driubalavu said they were working closely with the Ministry of Education, the Fiji Police Force's Drug Unit and other relevant authorities to control the abuse of this substance.
He said according to a research conducted in 2005 to 2011, primary school students sniffed glue because they wanted to experience it, some because of peer pressure thinking that it was cool, while some indulged out of disappointments from homes and schools.
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said glue sniffing had enormous immediate and long-term health implication on children .
Dr Sharma said substance abuse had many negative physiological effects, ranging from minor issues like digestion problems or respiratory infections to potentially fatal diseases.
It was also revealed that "inhalants can cause sudden death".
Meanwhile, Mr Driubalavu said statistics had also shown glue sniffing could cause death by suffocating, choking on vomits, heart attack and it could be fatal when people inhaled it for the first time.
He said the effects depended on the drug, the amount, method and frequency of use.
Mr Driubalavu said the danger in regular drug abuse or sustained exposure to a drug like glue, even for a short period of time, could cause physiological dependence.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said many students were caught sniffing glue in their school uniforms during school hours.
Insp Sokomuri said police were concerned with the increase of glue sniffing by students and urged all stakeholders to work together and protect those children.