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New Zealand Police are praising retailers who have announced this week that they are restricting sales of butane-based products to minors.
National Prevention Manager Superintendent Bruce Bird says all 62 Placemakers stores throughout New Zealand and several independently owned and operated Mitre 10 stores in the South Island have recently announced they are restricting sales of butane-based products to minors.
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean last week released figures showing 63 people had died as a result of butane inhalation incidents since 2000. 24 of those deaths were people under 17 years of age.
Superintendent Bird says, "Everyone has a role to play in finding a solution to 'huffing'. Police, just like retailers, are one part of that solution. I was heartened to hear that major retailers such as Placemakers and Mitre 10 are taking their moral obligations seriously and have realised they can do something to be part of the solution."
He says Placemakers has put in place a voluntary code to restrict sales of butane-based products to minors, where staff are now seeking identification to determine proof of age, where they believe the products aren't being purchased for their intended purpose.
Earlier this year, New Zealand Police released a national youth policing plan to 2015. Keeping vulnerable children and young people safe is a top priority.
"Part of this means ensuring at-risk youth are identified early and prioritised for intervention and development programmes. We're also working with schools and community groups to educate and work with at-risk youth in relation to the dangers of abusing alcohol, drugs and solvents."
Superintendent Bird says Police are doing all they can to prevent any further tragic deaths as a result of huffing and will continue to put prevention at the heart of policing in this area.