SNIFF TREND LURES YOUTH

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

THIS is the sad re­al­ity of Townsville’s chroming epi­demic – up to 35 empty de­odor­ant cans scat­tered in a filthy drain be­side a shop­ping cen­tre.

Lo­cal re­tail­ers were forced to lock up Rex­ona aerosols in early 2013 fol­low­ing a spate of thefts but, as this pic­ture shows, ad­dicts have merely found al­ter­na­tive brands to get high.

And the sad fact is many of the city’s worst chromers are a core group of chil­dren aged be­tween 11 and 17.

Child Pro­tec­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit of­fi­cer- in- charge De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Dave Miles de­scribed the youth­ful group of chromers “the new lost gen­er­a­tion”.

“The kids who sig­nif­i­cantly abuse these volatile sub­stances of­ten end up with ex­ten­sive court records, have de­layed learn­ing, and their be­hav­iour and mo­tor skills can be se­ri­ously af­fected,” he said.

“They strug­gle with nor­mal things and have out­bursts, some­times vi­o­lent, and the ef­fects can be per­ma­nent.

“The cog­ni­tive changes can be quite dra­matic.”

Many of the chil­dren have zero su­per­vi­sion at home and use sub­stances to al­le­vi­ate bore­dom.

It comes

at a

heavy, and some­times per­ma­nent, cost.

In­spec­tor Roger Whyte said users sought out dis­crete lo­ca­tions but would only move on when po­lice ar­rived.

“It is a prob­lem. They just seek out another se­cre­tive lo­ca­tion,” he said.

Insp Whyte said it was un­usual to find so many spent aerosols in one lo­ca­tion.

On any given day, po­lice re­spond to nu­mer­ous calls about chil­dren chroming volatile sub­stances in parks, dimly lit carparks, stormwa­ter drains and so on.

The worst of those af­fected may end up at the Townsville

They strug­gle with nor­mal things and have out­bursts, some­times vi­o­lent, and the ef­fects can

be per­ma­nent

SEN SGT DAVE MILES

TRAGEDY: Ev­i­dence of chroming in a drain near Castle­town shop­ping cen­tre.

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