In­halant abuse cre­at­ing con­cerns

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - CHRIS CALCINO chris.calcino@news.com.au

AN ALARM­ING rise in youths abus­ing in­halants, in­clud­ing de­odor­ants, in ar­eas of the Cairns CBD like the va­cant Court­house Ho­tel comes as no shock to Street Level Youth Care vol­un­teers.

Co-or­di­na­tor Roy Ed­wards said cur­rent re­ac­tive law en­force­ment poli­cies were not enough to de­ter ju­ve­niles from en­gag­ing in the dan­ger­ous act.

“It’s def­i­nitely hap­pen­ing, it’s def­i­nitely on the in­crease and, yes, we’re now get­ting it in town as well as the sub­urbs,” he said.

“The prob­lem is that with sub­stance abuse like in­halants, there’s no spe­cific charge.

“You can ar­rest peo­ple for steal­ing (the de­odor­ant) and give them bail con­di­tions, but they are break­ing them straight away. “It doesn’t worry them.” Mr Ed­wards, who reg­u­larly spends his nights run­ning a food van for itin­er­ant youths across Cairns, be­lieved tougher penal­ties were needed, as well as so­cial pro­grams to keep kids on the straight and nar­row.

“Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans need to make some sort of spe­cific leg­is­la­tion to make it il­le­gal,” he said.

“They do it with other sub­stances that are a prob­lem, so why not this one?

“It would be dif­fi­cult, but there has to be some way of word­ing it to make it work

Divi­sion 5 Coun­cil­lor Richie Bates said Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil clean-up crews were mov­ing into the Cairns Art Gallery yes­ter­day to re­move graf­fiti left by van­dals.

“Our of­fi­cers said they will make more reg­u­lar pa­trols,” he said.

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