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Solvent Abuse

Volume 12: debated on Wednesday 11 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he intends to introduce legislation to make solvent abuse a criminal offence in Scotland; and, if so, when.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) on 26 October l981.—[Vol. 10, c. 259.]

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the law relating to the sales of solvents in those instances where shopkeepers are known to be selling solvents almost in the form of a kit for use by youngsters to the ultimate detriment of their health.

If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind I would be grateful if he could supply me with details. Careful consideration has been given to the possibility of amending the law to make the sale of solvents to children a criminal offence, but there are serious practical difficulties involved, not least the very wide variety of ordinary household products which may be abused in this way.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill, Official Report, 26 October, col. 259, if he will consider amending the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to make it a matter for referral to the reporter where there is reason to believe that a young person is addicted to solvent abuse.

The consultative memorandum on children's hearings which was issued last year suggested that solvent abuse might be made a ground of referral, possibly as part of a wider ground of self-inflicted injury. My right hon. Friend explained in his statement to the House on 19 May 1981—[Vol. 5, c. 46–48]—that the wide range of views expressed made it necessary to consider the matter further; and, as I said in my reply to the hon. Member on 26 October—[Vol. 10, c. 259]—we shall shortly be consulting those concerned about means of dealing with the problem.