Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Health: Solvent abuse death toll rises

A "most alarming" rise in deaths from solvent abuse was reported to Parliament by the Government yesterday. The public health minister, Tessa Jowell, told the Commons that fatalities rose to 68 in 1995, compared with 58 the year before.

The study, published by St George's Hospital Medical School in London, showed there had been a steady decline from a peak of 151 deaths in 1990.

Ms Jowell said: "This increase in deaths, after such an encouraging downward trend in previous years, is most alarming.

"Equalling distressing is the recognition that every one of these 68 deaths was preventable and might have been avoided if the individuals concerned had been fully aware of the potentially fatal consequences of solvent abuse."