East Gippsland Local News:
"Chroming" Campaign Misses The Mark
Restricting the sale of solvents is only a band-aid approach to the real issue
By Craig Ingram MP - 13th June 2002 - Back to News
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The Independent Member for Gippsland East, Craig Ingram, says the State Government's anti-chroming campaign introduced this week to discourage solvent abuse by inhaling does not go far enough.
Mr Ingram said shifting the responsibility onto retailers to restrict the sale of solvents was only a band-aid approach to the real issue.
"Retailers who are developing a responsible approach to the sale of solvents should be congratulated for their efforts, but the responsibility does not lie solely with them," Mr Ingram said.
"Police and social workers must be given more power to apprehend young people who are engaging in the practice of solvent abuse.
"At present, they are powerless to do anything.
"I have been told of one issue in this electorate where some teenagers were involved in chroming and their carer went to the neighbours and asked them to cut the bottoms out of their plastic shopping bags before they disposed of them in their own bins.
"This made the bags not as effective for inhaling solvents when the teenagers took them from their neighbours' bins.
"The latest campaign by the State Government is another example of shifting the responsibility to someone else rather than concentrating on the real issue, which is getting some help for those involved in inhaling volatile substances.
"In many cases, a visit from the police to the parents of those caught in the act would be a deterrent, but in the cases of those who parents did not care it is obvious that something stronger is needed.
"That is why the police need the authority to detain chromers and refer them to welfare agencies to work through the problem with that person.
"At present, chroming is banned in any state-run facility, but the workers still have to provide young people with support and advice.
"In other words, if a person is inhaling volatile substances in one of these places, their carer is virtually powerless and can only supervise.
"I am aware that the State Government is attempting to deal with the problem with a number of initiatives, but I believe the real solution lies in recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Inhalation of Volatile Substances.
"Their report is due to be tabled in the spring sitting of Parliament and I believe it contains recommendations to increase the powers of police and allow them the ability to seize and destroy any articles used in the chroming practice.
"I am looking forward to receiving a copy of the report and considering its contents," Mr Ingram said.
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