October 14, 2001

Honduran Congress will finance treatment for 200 glue-addicted

                 TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- Congress will pay to send 200 street
                 children who beg for change on the steps of the legislative palace to
                 treatment for addiction to sniffing glue.

                 A law passed Saturday night will see authorities round up 200 homeless children
                 ages 15 and younger and finance their trip to state-run treatment centers for
                 addiction to an industrial glue used primarily in the manufacturing of shoes.

                 An estimated 15,000 street children in Tegucigalpa and in most of Honduras largest
                 cities are addicted to the glue, whose fumes shock the nervous system and render
                 the senses useless for up to eight hours -- making hunger, cold, loneliness and pain

                 The chemicals cause irreversible brain, lung and kidney damage, leaving
                 slack-jawed, glassy-eyed addicts stumbling through their lives, unable to
                 comprehend even the simplest aspects of the world around them.

                 Thousands of youngsters wander the streets clutching baby food jars and plastic
                 bags full of yellow globs of glue known as resistol, the brand name of an
                 industrial-grade adhesive St. Paul, Minnesota-based H.B. Fuller once produced here.

                 A 1996 law made it illegal for anyone other than licensed industrial distributors to
                 sell the glue, but demand for the inhalant has spawned a cottage industry of illegal
                 vendors where droves homeless kids go to get their fix.

                 The bill's sponsor, Liberal Rep. Jose Ernesto Maradiaga, said lawmakers were still
                 not sure how much the treatment of 200 children will cost.

                 < p> Still, he said, something had to be done to save the lives of the children
                 lawmakers see every day on their way to work.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press