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Fiji Time: 2:04 PM on Sunday 21 September

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Girl, 8, among sniffers

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, July 19, 2013

NINETY-SIX inhalant and solvent abuse offences were recorded in the Central Division for the past two years.

And a Class Three female student of Suva is the youngest victim that was reported sniffing glue in March this year.

National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) director Misaele Driubalavu said cases reported in the Central Division were "shocking".

He said authorities needed to pay more attention to this issue because there had been cases of abuse of volatile substances by students.

"From the research we have conducted we will need to take some precautionary measures," he said.

He said while volatile substances could not be banned they would try and control the sale of these items to children under 18 years old.

Mr Driubalavu said with many schools located in the Central Division, 67 offences were reported in Suva while 29 was reported in Nausori.

He said the Eastern Division was the second highest with 33 cases, Northern with 31 cases and the lowest was reported in the Western Division with 30 abuse cases.

Two glue brands — PVC and Dunlop — were mostly bought by students on the list of offenders, whose number continued to increase.

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 from 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 at home or in schools.

Earlier on, medical expert Doctor M Parameshvara Deva, a consultant psychiatrist with the Ministry of Health, said there were serious health implications of glue sniffing.

"Glue has hallucinogenic properties. It makes a person high and feel nice. Quiet people become boisterous.

Repeated glue sniffing is known to trigger off dependence and wanting more. When taken over the years, it has been known to produce brain damage," Dr Deva said.

"Glue sniffing, like other addictions such as alcohol, cigarettes and amphetamines are an indication of inner turmoil and unhappiness—caused by many factors from home to school, to poverty. So the problem is to solve these other sources of stress."


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