Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.


Faculty of Education and Arts


Office of Associate Dean Research and Higher Degrees (FEA) / Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet




Midford, R., McLean, S., Catto, M. , Thomson, N., & Debuyst, O. (2011). Review of volatile substance use among Indigenous people. Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin, 11(1), 1-18. Available here


The purpose of this review is to summarise key information from a number of substantial reports and other documents to make it more accessible to people involved in Indigenous health in Australia. The review draws heavily on the work undertaken in the preparation of Volatile substance misuse: a review of interventions. That very important report was authored by Peter d’Abbs and Sarah MacLean, the latter a co-author of this review. This review focuses on Australian Indigenous people, so no substantial attention is directed at the use of volatile substances among other indigenous peoples, or among other disadvantaged people in Australia or internationally. Also, reflecting the predominant emphasis on petrol sniffing among Indigenous people in Australia, this review focuses on that form of VSU. After summarising briefly the nature of volatile substances and their impacts when inhaled by people, the review summarises the use both generally and among Indigenous people in Australia, and the impacts of their use among Indigenous people. Attention is then directed to methods for responding to their use in Indigenous communities, in terms of (1) supply reduction; (2) demand reduction; (3) harm reduction; and (4) law enforcement, before providing some concluding comments.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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