Petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities: a review of interventions Academic Article uri icon


  • Petrol sniffing (and other forms of inhalant misuse) occur within some Aboriginal communities across Australia. However, there is little documented information about the nature and combination of interventions that are most effective in addressing it. This article reviews published and unpublished literature relevant to petrol sniffing in Australian Aboriginal communities. A range of strategies which have been trialled previously are discussed under the categories of primary, secondary and tertiary intervention. We have adopted Zinberg's schema of 'drug', 'set' and 'setting' in theorizing the mix of interventions most likely to reduce petrol sniffing. We argue that interventions should address as many as possible of these factors. Further, while no strategy is likely to succeed without strong support from local community members, governments also have an important role in addressing petrol sniffing. Consistent funding for strategies directly addressing petrol sniffing and co-ordinated government responses to the broader needs of Aboriginal young people and their communities are critical.

publication date

  • March 1, 2002