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Doctor’s warning over inhalant abuse

A LOCAL doctor has warned that young people are risking their lives, after new photos appeared to show evidence of inhalant abuse.

Dr Brendan O’Hare was speaking out after pictures released by Melmount Community Forum showed a number of aerosol cans and towels, items which were discovered in Ballycolman Estate. The pictures were taken by a concerned resident.

Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapours that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering  effect.

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“This is something which was common a number of years ago and has since died away,” Dr O’Hare said, “But certainly there had been a number of deaths reported.

“It’s one of those things where, ten people could do it and they would be fine but the eleventh would have an anaphylactic reaction – it’s extremely dangerous,” the Castlederg GP warned.

“Some of the things people have sniffed in the past beggar belief. There was one incidence of young people sniffing fly spray, which is a poison. It’s almost unbelievable.

“Certainly we would be appalled if this has started up again. I would strongly advise people to forget about it.”

Melmount Community Forum, when posting photos on social media, said the activity is once again becoming “far too common.”

A statement from the forum read, “Folks please check your loved ones for signs of solvent abuse when they return home from being out. It takes minutes to check and seek help for your child rather than a lifetime of sorrow, hurt and guilt if we lose a young person to an avoidable tragedy.”

Early identification and intervention are regarded as the best ways to stop inhalant abuse before it causes serious harm. Look out for the following signs: Chemical odours on breath or clothing; paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes; hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing; drunk or disoriented appearance; slurred speech; nausea or loss of appetite and inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression.

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