"Slowly being poisoned." An outsider's look at solvent abuse in the Indigenous population of Australia
Shelden, Steven F.
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In the introduction of its final report regarding the Inquiry into the Inhalation of Volatile Substances, the Drugs and Crime Prevention committee (DCPC) states that "Volatile Substance Abuse is not a new phenomenon, but. .. it is a most under-researched one."1. Further, the practice is far more prevalent in the Indigenous community of Australia, the problems of which are of significant and ongoing importance to the nation as a whole. It was with these and other facts in mind that I set out to complete my Integrative Cultural Research Project (ICRP) working on the problem of solvent abuse, with a focus on how it affects the Aboriginal people. Herein I have endeavored to approach the problem's many facets with the hope of combining the relevant literature and expert opinions to which I have been exposed during my brief sojourn in Australia. I will examine the history and causes of solvent abuse, the demographics and methods of the people who abuse them, the physiological, psychological, neurological, and community effects of the practice, and the solutions and interventions which have been used in the past and are being used currently, both the effective ones and the less so. It is my hope that my contribution will be a meaningful one.