NEAR ALICE SPRINGS, AUSTRALIA
Petrol sniffing among children of Australia's aboriginal tribes is now reaching near epidemic proportions.
NEAR ALICE SPRINGS, AUSTRALIA
1. AERIAL AND LV PAN Aborigine territory near Alice Springs, Australia, with aircraft flying overhead (2 shots) 0.14
2. LV & SV Aborigines in settlement (4 shots) 0.33
3. CU Petrol pump 0.37
4. Sv Child under blanket sniffing petrol 0.45
5. SV Another child sniffing petrol 0.49
6. LV Petrol being obtained by children from car (2 shots) 1.10
7. CU District Medical Officer Dr Hugh Nelson speaking (SOT) 1.28
8. SV & CU Young girls and boys sniffing petrol (4 shots) 1.55
9. CU Local school teacher speaking (SOT) 2.09
10. CU Girl sniffing petrol 2.14
SPEECH (TRANSCRIPT) SEQ. 7:
NELSON: "The kids who have been sniffing for a long time do seem a bit dopey, they, ... I don't know if there's been any formal studies into this, but, generally, medical people feel that the kids do have a retarded brain function and that it improves very slowly. Whether it comes back to normal, I'm not sure."
TEACHER (SEQ. 9): "Certainly the Pitinjara (phonetic) have responded by having much more positive steps to have children taken out to homeland communities in their own traditional land, and raised in a much more traditional way: they see that as the solution."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY A CHANNEL 10 REPORTER WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: NEAR ALICE SPRINGS, AUSTRALIA
Petrol sniffing among children of Australia's aboriginal tribes is now reaching near epidemic proportions. For the children of the Pitinjara tribe (phonetic spelling) near Alice Springs, the method of getting "high" is simplified by the fact that most vehicles run on petrol, rather than the government-favoured diesel. The children merely fill half a can with petrol and inhale the fumes, risking brain damage and even death in the process. A government report on aboriginal health revealed that fifty percent of children aged between six and twenty inhale petrol fumes every day. Already this year ten children have been admitted to Alice Springs Hospital in a state of decreased consciousness and suffering from the effects of lead toxicity caused by their addiction. District Medical Officer Doctor Hugh Nelson says that continuous sniffing can lead to retarded brain function, a condition that improves after treatment - but only at a very slow rate. Parents of the children can do little to help the youngsters give up the habit. Boys generally give up sniffing when they become elders, but are not admitted into adulthood until they have cured their addiction. Schoolteachers have only marginally more control, banning petrol cans from the classroom. One local teacher says that the tribes see a return to traditional styles of upbringing as the solution to the problem. A further government report has been commissioned to study the situation, but it is predicted that the epidemic will continue for at lest a further two years before any recommendations arising from the report are implemented.
Source: CHANNEL 10 ADELAIDE