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Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines
    #4513545 - 08/09/05 07:42 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)


Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines
09 Aug 2005 08:20:19 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Michael Perry

SYDNEY, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Petrol sniffing played a part in the deaths of up to 60 Aborigines in Australia's outback Northern Territory in the past seven years, a coroner was told on Tuesday as an inquest began into three of the deaths.

Outback health workers say there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Aborigines sniffing petrol since the last inquest in 1998, as black outback communities struggle to combat the habit in the face of poverty, disease and abuse.

There are an estimated 500 petrol sniffers in the Northern Territory, double the number four years ago, while in South Australia state the number has doubled in two years to 222, said health worker Blair McFarland.

"It's just a general sign of decay of the (aboriginal) communities," McFarland told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday from the outback town of Alice Springs.

"If you were in a remote community, had no education, no potential for work, lived a culturally shattered life, and had an option of getting out of it every day with a free drug, wouldn't that make you vulnerable to becoming a petrol sniffer?"

Petrol sniffing gives the user a high which is a cross between alcohol and LSD, said McFarland from the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service (CAYLUS).

"You have visual and audio hallucinations, as well as a reduction in feeling, so you don't feel scared or hungry or cold," he said.

Often petrol sniffers tie small cans of petrol around their faces, like a chaff bag around a horse's head, others simply lie in the dirt under a blanket with a can of petrol.


McFarland said a case the coroner was examining in Alice Springs, that of an aboriginal boy who died after sniffing petrol for the first time, showed how lethal the habit can be.

In late 2004, the 14-year-old visiting the Willowra community, 300 km (190 miles) north of Alice Springs, found a bottle of petrol and began sniffing for the first time.

He passed out and, unable to lift his head from the bottle, died of asphyxiation.

The other two cases being examined involved men aged 21 and 37 who both died of asphyxiation after sniffing petrol and collapsing at the base of Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock.

"The fact that you can asphyxiate first time you try means any petrol sniffer can drop dead any time. There are hundreds, potentially, of people who could drop dead any minute from petrol sniffing," McFarland said.

Dr Terry Sinton told the coroner he had performed autopsies on up to 60 Aborigines in the past seven years where petrol sniffing was a factor in the deaths, local media reported.

But the death toll is just the tip of the iceberg, said McFarland. "Brain damage is the bigger long-term problem. It dissolves the brain. It dissolves the fat in the brain."

Health researchers say it costs A$250,000 ($190,000) a year to supply full-time care to a brain-damaged petrol sniffer.

"Brain-injured sniffers in wheelchairs are a common sight in Mutitjulu," Deputy Coroner Helen Roberts told the inquest.

"Many sniffers continue to sniff despite their disabilities." ($1=A$1.32)


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Re: Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines [Re: motaman]
    #4607702 - 09/01/05 12:45 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Australia's Uluru to fund help for petrol sniffers
September1, 2005 - Reuters

CANBERRA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Some of the entrance fees to the national park containing Australia's iconic Uluru monolith, once known as Ayers Rock, will be used to help outback aboriginal communities fight the deadly problem of petrol sniffing.

The traditional owners of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park plan to spend almost 40 percent of the A$2 million ($1.5 million) received annually in rent money from the Australian government and park entrance fees on aboriginal community projects.

One project earmarked for funding is a study into petrol-sniffing programmes and treatment options for outback communities, a move that comes just weeks after a coronial inquest into the deaths of three Aborigines who sniffed petrol.

Two of the cases being examined by the coroner involved men who died of asphyxiation after collapsing at the base of Uluru.

"Families express their frustration at the lack of resources in the region to help youth who are sniffing," said the Central Land Council, an aboriginal rights body with representatives from across the remote southern half of the Northern Territory.

"If young people who are sniffing want to stop, there is nowhere for them to go. This project will examine a regional approach to petrol-sniffing programmes and treatment options."

The recent coronial inquest heard that petrol sniffing, which gives the user a high described as a cross between alcohol and LSD, played a part in the deaths of up to 60 Aborigines in the Northern Territory in the past seven years.

Health workers said there were an estimated 500 petrol sniffers in the Northern Territory, double the number four years ago. In South Australia state the number has doubled in two years to 222.

Instead of all the national park rent money and entrance fees going straight to the traditional owners for distribution, almost 40 percent will be given to the Central Land Council to fund petrol-sniffing programmes and other community initiatives.

Other projects include a revamp of the remote Imanpa general store, an upgrade of a basketball court, construction of a bike track and establishment of an art and craft centre.

European explorer William Gosse named the red monolith Ayers Rock in 1873, but it became known officially by its aboriginal name Uluru after it was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people, in 1985.

The Anangu then leased the world heritage-listed area, which has sacred meaning to them, back to the Australian government for 99 years for use as a national park. Almost 400,000 visitors are expected there this year.

The Anangu also receive 25 percent of the A$25 per person entrance fee to the national park. ($1=A$1.33)

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Re: Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines [Re: veggie]
    #4609692 - 09/01/05 08:12 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

any response on this hanky?

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Re: Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines [Re: veggie]
    #4972944 - 11/23/05 05:59 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Elders seek help on petrol sniffing
November 23, 2005 - the.standard.net.au

ABORIGINAL elders are worried their culture will be lost if something isn't done to save the increasing number of young people sniffing solvent fumes to get high.

Elder Len Clarke said sniffing of petrol, solvents and paint was on the rise and he believed it was out of control.

``It's a problem we as a society have to deal with and deal with quickly otherwise we're not going to have a future generation,'' he said.

The practice is not isolated to the indigenous community but a lack of resources to deal with the problem is adding to fears it could tear them apart.

Mr Clarke said the stigma of solvent sniffing made it hard to generate a figure on the number of south-west young people who were doing it.

``It's like the old alcoholic who hides his bottle in the shed. The only way you'll find out it's happening is to accidentally come across it,'' he said.

``Alcohol tends to be tolerated, marijuana is tolerated, but solvent sniffers are looked upon as the dregs of society. There's no sympathy for them,'' he said.

``I really see no difference between dancefloor drugs and Aboriginal kids sitting in the dust with a petrol can strapped to their nose.''

He said society expected Aborigines to sort out their problems on their own but they needed help.

Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative's Nick Hayne is the only indigenous drug and alcohol counsellor in the region. He confirmed solvent sniffing was happening.

Mr Hayne said the problem was not only substance-sniffing, it was the status of the Aboriginal community.

``I think they (the indigenous youth) have got to be taught that Aboriginal people are jewels of the country.

``If these Aboriginal kids knew how important they were as Aboriginal people they wouldn't be ruining themselves like that.''

The flag is almost always at half-mast at the Gunditjmara Co-op, signalling the steady stream of heart attacks, suicides and even murders, Mr Hayne said.

``There's a lot of sadness, grieving and mourning,'' he said.

Mr Hayne said the problem needed to be tackled with more mentoring and role models for young people.
``The elders and mentors of this country need to get together and start coming up with some solutions,'' he said.

``(Young people) need to think `I've got to do it for who I am and I've got to do it for my people'.''

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Re: Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines [Re: veggie]
    #4973118 - 11/23/05 06:55 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

ill never forget the day i spent in pimba. (first outback town on the road north from port agusta to the alice) i was sitting across the street from the petrol station eating a sandwhich, and these 5 little aboriginal boys walk up to one of the pumps, and proceed to just steal about a litre of petrol. they walked about 40 metres down the road, got out a rag, and had at it. it was quite sad to see. especially the fact that none of the locals gave a shit about it. but thats the kind of shit that happens when pot is illegal and you live in the outback...

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Registered: 12/16/03
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Re: Petrol sniffing continues to kill Aborigines [Re: dr_gonz]
    #4975596 - 11/24/05 11:24 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

i like your sig gonz... few things stir me more then a beautiful woman about to cum...

Edited by cateyes (11/24/05 06:49 PM)

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