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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Father in plea over solvent abuse
Lighter fuel
The 15-year-old died after inhaling butane gas
The father of a Londonderry teenager who died after abusing solvents has appealed to retailers to help prevent the craze.

Martin Connolly's 15-year-old son, also called Martin, died in October 1997 after inhaling a lethal dose of butane gas.

During the summer months, solvent abuse is said to be on the rise among young people in the city.

Martin Connolly (junior): Died at the age of 15
Martin Connolly (junior): Died at the age of 15

Campaigners want shopkeepers to make it more difficult for potential abusers to get their hands on lethal solvents.

Mr Connolly, who has actively campaigned against the craze since his son's death, said retailers had been given legal advice about the sale of certain substances.

"They were given an idea of what way to deal with the situation if young people come onto the premises to buy certain items that can be used for sniffing," he said.

"They were given the legal side of it so that they know exactly who they are allowed to sell stuff to and what the age limit is."

Since his son's tragic death, Mr Connolly has also been delivering his message to school children in the area.

He said his son got involved in solvent abuse in 1996.

Martin Connolly: Campaigning against solvent abuse
Martin Connolly: Campaigning against solvent abuse

"For a year prior to his death, myself and my wife were involved in various situations trying to sort him out," he said.

"From his death we have actively involved ourselves in most of the local drugs programmes."

He said there had been an increase in the numbers of young people in Londonderry indulging in solvent abuse in the past year.

"We've been out at many sites around the city," he said.

"We've been out at nights clearing the sites of cans and plastic bags that people have been using.

"The trend every year tends to rise during the summer holidays."

Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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