Territory Stories

Ministerial Statement Inhalant Substance Abuse



Ministerial Statement Inhalant Substance Abuse

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Tabled Paper 493


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Denis Burke


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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4 Through the Alcohd and Other Drugs Program, THS employs a full time Aboriginal Liaison Officer to respond to and provide specialist support and education to communities as well as working with them to develop diversionary activities for youth or specific petrol sniffing strategies that are supported by the entire community. Secondly, in Alice Springs, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program through the activities of the Community Educator, has coordinated the development of the Alice Springs Youth Substance Use Working Party (ASYSUWP). This is a network of non-government agencies which are developing a number of Alice Springs based substance abuse interventions. Their initiatives include the development by Tangentyere Council of the Undoolya Project. It is aimed at urban children (Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal) and will establish a training program that focuses on personal and cultural development, diversionary activities. It also links with other agencies such as THS Mental Health Youth Suicide Programs, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Holyoake and Education. Youth Workers support the programs run at this camp. Also through Tangentyere Council, a youth worker is funded to work with children in Alice Springs engaging them in activities as an alternative to sniffing. The Family, Youth and Childrens Services Unit within THS finds temporary safe places for sniffers at Aranda House arid Alice Springs Youth Accommodation Support Service and contacts the family. THS has just redirected $100 000 from corporate services to FYCS to increase preventative family care and family support programs. The Alcohol and Other Drugs services of THS provide training and education in substance abuse to the various non government service providers and to Bachelor College students. THS also has a challenging behaviour support team which works closely with individual sniffers and the carer/guardian to develop a care plan. This could include supported accommodation, family support and respite activities. The department offers guardianship to several clients. Some of these people are under the care of the Minister and the costs are huge. We spend $160 000 per year for supported accommodation for one client alone, and between $80 000 and $100 000 per year on other individuals. THS provides short term accommodation to chronic sniffers in Ward 1, at the Alice Springs Hospital, for up to three days at a time. While there are no residential rehabilitation treatment programs in Central Australia, it should be noted that there is no research that demonstrates that this is an effective approach. In fact it can further the isolation of the sniffer from his or her family. Less restrictive options are currently being explored however by both Aranda House and Tangentyere Council. Aranda House is seeking to establish a safe detoxification and withdrawal service with assertive counselling and follow up for young people.

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