Community Workers

People with volatile substance abuse problems can be helped when people around them provide support so they can make the changes necessary to stop their substance use and move forward with their lives.

Where possible
1. Reduce access
2. Seek professional help – a health worker or drug and alcohol treatment service is a good start
3. Talk to other people already involved in the persons life: Their friends, a school counsellor, the local Youth Drug & Alcohol Services, your general practitioner or local youth aid officer. Perhaps the Police or the mental health services. All services must work together to identify, then meet the needs of the person at risk.
4. Consider what extra support the person may need – some people use volatile substances as a drug of choice and it’s important to create strategies to help them manage their lives better.

Volatile substance abuse is not a safe thing to do, and it is important that people using volatile substances are advised and supported to stop. However, if a person is not ready to stop, and is still using volatile substances, there are simple steps they can take to help reduce their risks. The following advice may be appropriate:

  • Many volatile substances are highly flammable and can cause burns or explosions. Don’t smoke when you’re huffing solvents, don’t be around people who are smoking, and don’t have a cigarette directly after huffing.
  • Gas heaters or any heater with an electrical element can catch fire or explode when volatile substances are used close by – be safe, don’t leave any heater on.
  • Have a friend around who is able to keep an eye on you.
  • Leave a window open to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen (asphyxiation is the main cause of death from volatile substance abuse).