The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Aboriginal Petrol Sniffing On The Increase

Posted by sarahnics on October 20, 2008

Australian officials have reported that there has been an increase in petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities, that have controversially been taken over by the government.
The government have taken control of dozens of Northern Territory Aboriginal settlements, in a bid to curb the excessive child abuse and alcoholism trouble that has been plaguing the area.
A report blames the rise in child abuse on the rising levels of alcoholism and extreme poverty. As a result the government banned alcohol and child pornography in a bid to quell the levels of reported and unreported child abuse cases in the territories 45 communities.
However the problem of alcoholism has progressed to people becoming addicted to petrol sniffing. As a way of escaping from the many troubles that people are facing in these extremely poverty stricken areas.

Cheap Escape
Tribal leaders believe that the governments attempts to curb alcoholism by issuing the ban, has directly lead to the sharp rise in petrol sniffing. Where the chemical fumes can provide a cheap escape and respite from the many troubles facing the Aborigines.

Aboriginal children as young as five have been reported as developing addictions to the fumes. Petrol abuse can cause brain damage, depression, high blood pressure and in some cases heart disease and miscarriages.

Some communities have put forward extreme measures in order to tackle the problem. Such as sending addicts to harsh outback camps, in order to try to wean them off the fumes and to keep them away from temptation.

Also the new introduction of a specially designed unleaded fuel has helped somewhat with the problem. As it helps to rid the area of the fumes that is such a temptation to addicts.

Desperate Measures
Although measures are in place to try to deal with the problem, tribal leaders still believe that many other problems remain. Therefore in some areas the situation may worsen in the coming months.

There is also a belief that the petrol sniffing escalates during the tropical Australia’s wet season. So with many areas cut off by the high rivers and impassable roads, boredom will set in, causing people to indulge in the drug abuse.

Sarah Nicholas (

For the background article click here:











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