Glue-sniffing, the new juvenile vice
  • | Tuoi tre | February 25, 2011 11:48 AM

Cheap, widely available, and legitimate, strong synthetic glues with solvents give off intoxicating fumes that act like a drug.

The western corner of 29/3 Park in Da Nang is a favorite spot for juvenile glue-sniffers for it hardly has any visitors during the day.

At around 8:00 in the morning, three suspicious-looking school students showed up, one carrying a small container of industrial synthetic glue branded Dog X-66 wrapped in a transparent nylon bag.

The Vietnamese slang for the glue-sniffing practice, “dog glue,” comes from this popular brand.

One of the boys opened the container, spilled a few drops of glue into a nylon bag, put it over his mouth, and began to inhale excitedly.

One breathed directly from the open container, the other burned a plastic bag which had a layer of adhesive and inhaled the milky smoke curling upward.

Once the gas entered their body, the capillary surface of the lungs quickly absorbed it and the boys started to reel around, speech slurring.

One even vomited violently. From afar, one of the park’s security guards told us this has been a familiar scene for months. All they could do was to drive the kids away since what they were doing was not illegal, he explained.

At a shop selling motorbike tools and components in Da Nang’s Tran Cao Van street, the owner said Dog X-66 and other strong glues have been selling like hot cakes recently.These glues, costing a mere VND1,000-5,000, give off a strong, pungent smell when opened.

Most buyers there were teenagers; some even wore the uniform of the nearby Le Thi Hong Gam Junior High school. Once they got what they needed, they quickly vanished into nearby alleys, no doubt to get their fix.

The principal of the school said two students were found abusing solvent but they have since stopped following strict measures and close monitoring.

But it is a hard task controlling students’ outside activities though the school has health counseling programs for them, he said. In Quang Ngai city, one high school student talked about his sniffing experience:

“It was very unpleasant at first, but when you get used to it, it can ease all your pain and sadness. It is the new cool thing among my friends.”

In Ho Chi Minh City too, police in many districts have reported numerous cases of glue-sniffing, especially by teenagers.


Dr Tran Duy Tam of the HCMC Mental Hospital says solvents, the main ingredient in glue, could cause pneumonia and cardiac failure.

Hearing loss, brain, liver, and kidney damage, limb spasms, damage to the central nervous system, blood-oxygen depletion are other major hazards.

Teenagers can also suffer from hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in tissues, due to inhaling from a plastic bag.

But authorities are faced with a problem since it is not possible to simply crack down on the practice: solvents and gases are used in hundreds of legally available, inexpensive products like adhesives, deodorant sprays, hair sprays, and air fresheners.

Dog X-66 or “dog glue” is a glue that contains toluene or other solvents like methylene chloride, cyclohexane, and ethyl toluene that give off fumes with intoxicating or euphoric effects.

It is widely used in Vietnam as an adhesive for things like footwear, water pipes, and wood. Solvent abuse in developing countries attacks youths in their most productive years and causes a wide range of associated social problems.



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