Cutting back on funding the petrol-sniffing programs would be damaging since a lack of funding would lead to an increase in this habit and expose people to its adverse social and health consequences (Senior & Chenhall, 2007). Barrett (2012) notes that cutting funding will prevent organizations from implementing intervention programs. Cutting fuel supply at the community level is ineffectual in eradicating petrol sniffing since it is easy to bring in fuel from other areas (Senior, Chanhall & Daphne, 2006). Cutting fuel supply will also negatively affect the community who rely on it. This will add to the economic realities that cause substance abuse in the first place (Senior, et al., 2006).
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The habit results in antisocial behaviour due to the cognitive impairment of petrol sniffing. Petrol sniffing acts as a stepping-stone to drug use since as the user gets older, they substitute petrol sniffing for other drugs (Maclean & Peter, 2002). The economic situation of the Aboriginal population needs to be addressed since petrol sniffing is a form of volatile solvent abuse common in disadvantaged or isolated societies (Kylie & Matthew, 2010).
Early intervention is required since the brain damages caused by petrol sniffing are irreversible. Kylie and Matthew (2010) reveal that petrol sniffing also results in impairment in cognitive function and reduces an individual’s insight into their own behaviours. As a healthcare professional, I would focus on prevention and early intervention. I would also educate parents on the dangers of petrol sniffing. Maclean and Peter (2002) note that parent education has been associated with a decrease in the number of new incidents of petrol sniffing.
B presents a very valid point by noting that a more direct approach to target social determinants is needed. By doing this, the number of petrol sniffing youths will decrease significantly.
Barrett, R. (2012). Funding confusion clouds petrol-sniffing programs. The Australian. Web.
Kylie, D., & Matthew, L. (2010). Assessing cognition following petrol sniffing for Indigenous Australians. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(7), 631-639.
Maclean, S. & Peter, N. (2002). Petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities: a review of interventions. Drug and Alcohol Review, 21(1), 65•72.
Senior, K., & Chenhall, R. (2007). ‘Stopping sniffing is our responsibility’: Community ownership of a petrol-sniffing program in Arnhem Land. Health Sociology Review, 16(1), 315–327.
Senior, K., Chanhall, R., & Daphne, D. (2006). “Stuck nose”: experiences and understanding of petrol sniffing in a remote Aboriginal community. Contemporary Drug Problem, 33 (1), 451-472.