Training call on solvent abuse
Mrs Morrice said at the launch of a campaign in Edinburgh: "If the problem could be highlighted within existing drugs education programmes for 10 to 12-year-olds, there could be far less abuse when pupils get older."
Parents, too, had to be more aware of the dangers. "They are so terrified, " Mrs Morrice said. "They don't want to acknowledge that it could be their child at risk. It is inevitable that their children will be faced with choices and decisions. It is essential they get the knowledge and skills to face these choices."
The new campaign is being mounted by the charity Re-Solv, the Society for the Prevention of Solvent and Volatile Substance Abuse. According to its most recent figures, for 1996, Scotland has the highest death rate from solvent abuse.
Re-Solv's Scottish campaign is aimed at raising funds to help produce and distribute teaching and training materials. There is also hope that the law in Scotland will be strengthened to bring it into line with England. At present although traders in Scotland cannot knowingly sell substances for abuse purposes, trading standards officers cannot call witnesses under 16.
Warren Hawksley, director of Re-Solv, described Scots law as "weak" and called for research into the link between solvent and drug abuse. "It is likely that solvent abuse leads to drug taking," Mr Hawksley said.
Re-Solv has available a youth workers' teaching pack, a video for use with 11-16s and a range of other literature. It can be contacted on 01785 817885.