Policing, volatile substance misuse, and Indigenous Australians


Volatile substance misuse is the inhalation of substances containing hydrocarbons to induce a state of intoxication, and there a number of acute and chronic health and social problems with which it can be associated. Police have an important role to play in the minimisation of both volatile substance misuse and related harm. This research project, commissioned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, was to enhance the understanding of the law enforcement sector concerning the extent and nature of petrol sniffing and other inhalant misuse by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples predominantly in rural and remote, but also urban communities. A qualitative case study approach was taken to the project and 160 interviews were conducted with a total of 195 people including: police officers; Indigenous police liaison officers or community constables; representatives of Indigenous community-controlled organisations; Indigenous community members; representatives of non-Indigenous non-government organisations; and representatives of government agencies. (Executive summary, edited)