New research into volatile substance use in Far North Queensland has found the misuse of inhalants is a barrier to school attendance and employment – two of the keys to reducing Indigenous disadvantage.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Dignity, Diversion, Home and Hope: A Review of Interventions for Volatile Substance Misuse in Regional North Queensland report, released today, found inhalants were rarely the first drug of choice.
“The report found most young people preferred alcohol and cannabis when it was available. Reasons for choosing to use inhalants instead of alcohol and cannabis largely related to price and availability,” Minister Scullion said.
“Among other findings was that there was a strong connection between young people misusing inhalants and feelings of suicide, disassociation and disillusionment. This group was generally considered to be the most disengaged and vulnerable of all young people accessing youth services. “
Minister Scullion said the report provided useful insights from the perspectives of users.
“The report’s authors have added valuable ‘grassroots’ views through the voices of young people engaging in volatile substance misuse and practitioners at the ‘coal face’ who work with them.”
Minister Scullion said the Australian Government had funded a number of volatile substance use workers who sought to engage with young people in community to educate them about the dangers of activities such as petrol sniffing. These workers also educate retailers about safer storage and sales practices.
“Most states and territories have legislation regulating the supply of volatile substances, making it an offence to supply if it is known that the purchaser intends to inhale,” Minister Scullion said.
“In the past two years, Australian Government funding has also supported the development of retailer information kits, community inhalant plans to reduce incidents of volatile substance misuse and education of sector workers, carers and families.
“The Government is committed to reducing the misuse of inhalants which will help people to better engage in their communities, bolster school attendance levels and make it easier for people to remain in the workforce.”
The Dignity, Diversion, Home and Hope report was produced by Youth Empowered Towards Independence (YETI), a not-for-profit organisation that primarily works with vulnerable young people living in Cairns who are at risk of, or are already engaging in, the illicit use of drugs and/or alcohol.
The report was funded under the Australian Government’s Petrol Sniffing Strategy and can be downloaded from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website at www.dpmc.gov.au.
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2014-07-17 Misuse of inhalants a barrier to school and work.pdf