Warlpiri elders work with petrol sniffers


The Mount Theo-Yuendumu Substance Misuse Aboriginal Corporation and associated diversionary programs are the Yuendumu community’s current best strategy for dealing with substance misuse among its young people. This article describes the operation of the Mt Theo Petrol Sniffing Program, which began in 1994 as a community response to the crisis of petrol sniffing. Under the program, young people with petrol sniffing problems are removed to the Mt Theo Outstation where they are cared for by Warlpiri elders and are involved with outstation activities. The article presents statistics on the outcomes of the program, which has been successful because of its community based approach, and also describes the Youth Program at Yuendumu which offers an alternative to sniffing through sport and recreational activities.

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