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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6 Communities that are able to take action independent of government activity to deal with petrol and other inhalant abuse where and when it occurs, provide the most efficient and effective option for families, communities and governments. We will focus on those communities where sniffing either does not occur or is under control; to support and encourage them so that sniffing is even less likely to be a problem and can be dealt with effectively if there is an occurrence. These communities will be examples for those more seriously afflicted. One emphasis will be on providing young Territorians in communities with meaningful occupations and activities. Already there are a number of programs and services that are aimed at achieving this such as Territory Health Services Alcohol and Other Drugs services; Sport and Recreations indigenous sports program and Aboriginal Community Sponsorship; the ATSIC funded Community Development Employment Program (CDEP); Tangentyeres Detour Project; Wurli-Wurlinjangs substance abuse program; and Ngkarte Mikwehenhes community substance abuse program. To give you some idea of the funding involved in this area alone, it is estimated THS is spending about half a million dollars a year while Sport and Recreation is contributing $750,000. The second objective is to provide regulatory and legislative support to communities. While petrol sniffing and inhalant substance abuse is not illegal there are hard-core sniffers that can be identified and, as I said before, their influence can quickly turn a community into a problem area. Within this area police, correctional services, night patrols and community government councils do have a role and in many cases are successfully combating the problem. The police have a range of sen/ices and responses which are developed and implemented in consultation with local communities. As well there are the Aboriginal Community Police Officers and the Aboriginal Community Corrections Officer program. The night patrols, funded normally by my department and ATSIC, are also intimately involved. However, communities may need more power and that is why we will investigate further how their by-laws can be used to help. The third arm of the strategy is educate our young people and their families and communities about the harmful effects of inhalant substance abuse. We already have a number of programs in this area, such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance and Education Program) which is mainly the responsibility of the school-based constables with similar work undertaken by community police.