VSA - The Facts

What is Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA)?

VSA is the deliberate inhalation of any kind of volatile substance in order to become intoxicated. Volatile substances contain volatile hydrocarbons and give off fumes at room temperature, which are inhaled to give a short term intoxicating effect.

Common names include ‘buzzing’, glue sniffing’ or just ‘sniffing’, ‘bagging’,huffing’and/or simply ‘solvent abuse’.

Many every day products can be abused. In the average household there are 30 products which can be abused, including hairspray, deodorants, turpentine, other aerosols, glues. Cigarette lighter refill gas (butane gas) is the most deadly product which can be easily purchased and abused. The results can be instantly fatal.

  • Young persons from all backgrounds.
  • VSA is a hidden problem of which many adults are unaware.
  • One fifth of young teenagers are reported to have misused a volatile substance at some time.
  • Young persons in particular misuse volatile substances, with the critical age being 12 – 18 year olds.
 Why Misuse? What are the effects and signs of VSA?
  • Curiosity.
  • Boredom.
  • To get a ‘high’ and escape from problems.
  • Peer pressure to experiment.
  • Group activity – products are easier to obtain and
  • cheaper than illegal drugs or alcohol.
  • Drunken like behaviour – although this is short term.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Unusual mood swings, sores around the mouth or recurring headaches.
  • Empty aerosol, butane or glue containers left lying around or hidden in a child’s room.
  • A chemical smell on your child’s breath or clothing.
  • Lack of interest at school or lack of concentration.
  • Last Modified: Monday 03 July 2017, 20:36:06.