Urgent review into huffing deaths
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 9:29p.m.
The Mosgiel explosion that badly injured two teenagers "huffing" from an LPG bottle has sparked an urgent chief coroner's inquiry into the wider issue of solvent sniffing.
Chief coroner Neil Maclean announced on Wednesday he would look at the issue after admitting he was surprised at the number of deaths over last decade or so.
Mosgiel's Brendon McLeod, 17, and Jamie Jury, 18, face years of burns treatment after the LPG bottle they were sniffing from, and the heater it was attached to, exploded on Monday.
The incident was a catalyst for Mr Maclean to look at the wider issue of solvent sniffing after discovering there had been more than 30 deaths since 2001, mainly of teenage boys.
His review would "not be a major federal investigation" but he would look at both deaths from explosions and people being poisoned by the gases and draw on coronial reports from here, Australia and the UK, he told NZ Newswire.
Mr Maclean said he would look at ideas such as sales restrictions on gas, warning labels, or even putting nasty smelling chemicals in gas to deter sniffers.
In March, Wellington coroner Garry Evans urged the Government to look at ways of limiting young people's access to solvents such as butane, following the death of Wainuiomata 16-year-old Nikora Mikaere Birch, who was found dead on the banks of a stream in 2010.
However, his recommendation to the Ministry of Youth Affairs did not garner much response.
Mr Maclean said Mr Evans' recommendation elicited a response from the Ministry of Youth Affairs that they were doing a lot on the issue.
However, Mr Maclean said he did not know what they actually meant by that.
He said his review would see if a pattern was developing and if there was a bigger picture people needed to look at.
He hoped it could be worked in with the Child and Youth Mortality Review.
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27/07/2012 6:11:57 a.m.
Robyn Maxwell wrote:
12 year down the track since my son died from butane inhalation, same recommendation from the coroner, and nothing has changed but the loss of many young kiwis lives. This really saddens me ;o(
5/07/2012 7:19:51 p.m.
@JAMIE LENNON. It makes me cringe to admit this, but I'm in the same boat as you. I did it too. There but for the grace of God go both of us. I have no right to criticize these kids. I'm not proud of it. I'm employed and nearing 50 years old and every second I've lived since then is time I could have just thrown away as a stupid 17 year old.
4/07/2012 11:04:20 p.m.
Jamie Lennon wrote:
This is sad, I thought this new generation of kids would stop doing this, We used to do this at high school, except it was everything from fly spray, deoderant, air freshener, spray paint, athesma inhalers and LPG, I got sent for drug councelling when I was 14 to kick the habit, and its an addictive one because its so available, kids need to be educated alot better about this stuff, and what long term effects it can have on you life, I'm stuck with a constant memory problem and stuttering for life because of taking this stuff for a prolonged period, guess I'm one of the lucky ones compared to these two kids, and to think that could have been me, its scary, I'm 25 now and glad to still be alive with my face intact.
4/07/2012 10:55:36 p.m.
I hope the families and friends of these poor boys can rally, and get the message out there to stop this happening to other teenage boys - it can make a difference.
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