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Title: Evaluation of strategies used by a remote aboriginal community to eliminate petrol sniffing.
Authors: Burns CB
Currie BJ
Clough AB
Wuridjal R
Citation: Med J Aust. 1995 Jul 17;163(2):82-6.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the success of strategies--including replacing petrol with aviation gasoline (avgas) in the fuel supply, and employment and skills-training programs targeting young people--in reducing petrol sniffing at Maningrida, an isolated Aboriginal community in northern Australia. METHODS: A follow-up study of 13 Aboriginals who were non-sniffers, 15 who were ex-sniffers and 27 who were petrol sniffers in 1992 was conducted by questionnaire in 1994, 20 months after intervention strategies were commenced; 11 non-sniffers, 11 ex-sniffers and 18 petrol sniffers, respectively, participated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Petrol-sniffing status, changes in employment status, blood lead levels of the participants, and community crime statistics. RESULTS: After intervention strategies in Maningrida, petrol sniffing ceased, with related crime falling markedly. Employment increased significantly among petrol sniffers, from 7% to 63% (chi 2 = 11.53; df = 1; P < 0.001). Only two petrol sniffers were reported to have continued petrol sniffing elsewhere. Apart from one of these individuals, who had recently returned to Maningrida, blood lead levels fell significantly in those with a history of petrol sniffing, indicating they had not continued to sniff avgas, which contains lead additives (0.8 g/L). CONCLUSIONS: While avgas introduction was a key element in eliminating petrol sniffing, its apparent lack of success as a single intervention elsewhere indicates the importance of widespread community resolve against petrol sniffing and the development of coordinated employment strategies in successfully eliminating the practice and reducing associated social disruption.
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Journal title: The Medical journal of Australia
Volume: 163
Pages: 82-6
Publication Date: 1995-07-17
Type: Comparative Study
Journal Article
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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