Treatment and support

Providing alternative options to using volatile substances or other drugs, especially for young people, is an important way to reduce the contact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with solvents [362]. These can include programs such as

, a social inclusion program which helps young people aged 12-18 to identify and embrace positive opportunities.

There are currently no medicines available to help volatile substance users (VSU) who are addicted to sniffing inhalants (also known as solvents). However, there are medicines that can help to address some of the symptoms of sniffing, such as depression and nervousness (agitation) [23503].

Counselling can be a good way to help people with VSU issues, and can include techniques like:

  • brief intervention
  • motivational interviewing
  • general relapse prevention counselling [23503].

There are some people who might not be ready to stop sniffing. For these people, it’s important to reduce the harms that are linked to volatile substance use until they might be ready to change [23503]. Some suggestions for reducing harms when sniffing solvents include:

  • staying away from dangerous places like roads or fires
  • sniffing in open places so there is lots of oxygen for the lungs
  • sniffing with sober people, so they can call for help if needed
  • asking for low aromatic fuel (LAF) to be stocked.


Key resources

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Rain Meets Creek, Creek Meets River, River Meets Sea by William Miller

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