A story about a new craze of sniffing the fumes of burning wheelie bins and bus shelters has popped up on the BBC website. Now, solvent abuse is a real and serious problem but this story is ... well, judge for yourselves. According to the report:
Police believe the craze could be behind a spate of wheelie bin fires. Setting wheelie bins on fire and sniffing the fumes is the new "drug of choice" for youths, police in South Yorkshire have said.According to Warren Hawksley, director of anti-solvent abuse charity Re-Solv, (who notes how the practice of inhaling burning plastic fumes is even more dangerous and risky than more conventional solvent abuse):
Teenagers are thought to set the bins alight and then inhale the toxic plastic fumes to get a "high".
Police believe the craze could be behind bin fires in the Athersley and New Lodge areas of Barnsley.
"in Scotland it was also known for people to burn bus shelters to get the same effect."
And how have the police responded?. Apparently:
"South Yorkshire Police told BBC Radio Sheffield they were now looking at ways to lock up the bins to prevent the practice."What, all of them? There must be a good 30 million or so across the country just waiting to be torched and inhaled. And I suppose you'd need to be careful that the lock-ups didn't have plastic doors . Locking up all the bus shelters presents a whole new range of logistical problems, and it seems unlikely that either bins or shelters can practicably be brought within the Misuse of Drugs Act. For starters, what classification do you make them?
Like so many knee jerk responses to the latest drug panics, this one seems entirely ridiculous, and I suspect that something has been lost in the translation from reality to web news. How, for example, are we supposed to believe that wheelie bin sniffing is the 'new drug of choice' for youths . It seems highly unlikely to ever catch on as a mainstream youth activity; try sneaking a bus shelter into a club in your pants and see what happens. If it happens at all then it will be a very occasional minority pursuit for the very bottom rung of solvent abusers who can't afford glue, aerosol or lighter fluid. These are people in need of help - I dont think a war on wheelie bins is likely to be the answer. A rubbish bit of reporting all round.