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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8 The last objective of the strategy is the care and rehabilitation of those for whom medical assistance has become necessary. While the overall aim of this strategy is to prevent inhalant substance abuse, we have to face the facts that no program, no co-ordinated approach can hope to eliminate the self-destructive behaviour of some of our young people. There have always been young people ready to test the morality, the mores, the attitudes and the behaviour of society. There have always been children willing to try some new substance for immediate gratification. And there will always be for families, communities and governments the need - and the duty - to pick up the broken pieces. This we already do through counselling and mental health services; child protection, medical services, hospitals, family support programs, Aranda House, disability services, community health, the Commonwealths innovative health services for homeless youth (IHSHY) and ATSICs Community Housing and Infrastructure program for outstations. This parliament is considering this session a new Mental Health and Related Services Bill which includes sections relevant to the treatment of those severely damaged by inhalant substance abuse. I began by, I hope, dispelling a few myths about the issue of petrol sniffing. Let me conclude by making a few admissions. We have not ignored the problem of petrol sniffing - but we have been too reactive. We have not been doing nothing - but we may have done too much: a program here, another there; some funding for this approach, more money for that response. We have had one big weakness and that is not co-ordinating the hard-work, and dedicated service put in by so many government and non-govemment workers to address this problem. I am optimistic that the strategy I have announced today will return a different verdict in the years to come. I move that the house take note of the statement.

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