Gangs threaten stores to supply them solventsBy Norman V. Mendoza, Jucell Marie P. Cuyos
Cebu Daily News
A government doctor warned that sniffing chemical solvents may cause users to go crazy and develop other medical conditions.
Dr. Armendo Ceniza of the Mandaue City Heath Office said addiction to solvents like rugby and Vulcaseal, a popular rubberized sealant, may result in psychosis or serious mental illness.
A construction goods owner in Mandaue admitted that stores sell the solvents to youth gangs because they fear reprisal if they don’t.
Sniffing solvent like ruby, paint thinner and the sealant Vulcaseal, Ceniza said, impairs a person’s ability to think clearly and remembering. Hallucination is also a common effect of inhaling these volatile substances as well as result in other ailments such as peptic ulcer.
“Solvent addicts don’t feel hungry so they dont eat,” he said.
With no food in their stomach for long periods of time, the tissues are damaged by natural stomach acids, he explained and the user’s immune system also weakens.
Constant inhaling also causes a nasal infection and can lead to cancer.
Ceniza said Mandaue City “is exerting efforts to save street children” from the rough streets and from the vice of sniffing solvents through an ordinance regulating the sale of rugby and other solvents.
A businessman said the problem of solvent addiction among street children and homeless people affects peace and order.
Jan Suson, owner of a construction supply store confirmed that stores give in to demands of gangs of street children for the addicting substances.
He suggested posting more policemen near their stores to discourage street gangs from threatening store staff.
Suson’s store hangs a sign outside declaring Mandaue City Ordinance No. 12-2011-668 prohibits the sale of solvents and volatile substances to minors.
Popular brands of sealants that streetkinds buy are Fedseal, Vulcaseal and Elastoseal.