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Caithness News Bulletins March 2005

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Maureen Macmillan MSP Backing Action on Solvent Abuse
Maureen Macmillan MSP has added her support to a new campaign to stop solvent abuse in Scotland.

The National Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) campaign is hoping to raise awareness amongst shop workers about the laws surrounding the sale of lighter fuel and other solvents that can be abused by children. Mrs Macmillan is calling on retailers to operate on a 'no proof, no sale' basis on age restricted products and is encouraging all shop workers to support the campaign and help stop the sale of volatile substances to under 18s.

Backing the campaign Mrs Macmillan said, "Solvent abuse can kill. That is why lighter fuel is an age restricted product, and it is illegal to sell it to under -18s. I believe that the vast majority of local retailers are highly responsible. However, there does seem to be a lack of knowledge surrounding the sale of these products to children and that is why this campaign is so important.

I believe that this campaign can play a key role in stopping solvent abuse in the Highlands and Islands. It can both raise awareness amongst retailers and highlight the dangers of solvents to children. I would encourage all local retailers to back the campaign and say 'no proof, no sale' when selling solvents."

Launching the campaign Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said, "The Executive is committed to tackling the ongoing problem of solvent abuse in Scotland and increasing awareness of the problem. We must persuade youngsters, who may not fully appreciate the risks involved, that there is no safe way to sniff or inhale volatile substances. There are no safe kicks with solvents.

But we must also crack down on the supply of these products to young people. There is anecdotal evidence of genuine ignorance of the legislation which makes it an offence to sell butane gas lighter refills to under- 18s. This campaign aims to change that and stop volatile substances from getting into the hands of our young people."

The most commonly abused volatile substances are butane gas, which is found in cigarette lighter refills or aerosol sprays, and solvents which are used in a variety of products to keep the ingredients in a liquefied state. It is against the law to sell butane gas lighter refills to anyone under the age of 18.

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