Our communities

Our communities are looking to make changes to the way they respond to volatile substance abuse. Here are a couple of examples of what’s going on around the country:


1. Christchurch CYFs Youth Justice has run two workshops about volatile substance abuse.

Child, Youth and Family is working with communities, caregivers and young people in Christchurch to seek on the ground solutions for those at risk. This has included a workshop with representatives from Child, Youth and Family, police, youth morbidity advisors, schools, community people and the CCC safer cities people. The workshop addressed risk, why young people are using solvents, and how to approach young people about their use.

The outcomes included creating a communication network to disseminate information, and agreement to set up a youth focus group to ask young people what they felt would help with the issue. For more information about how to keep young people safe please call CYFs toll free on (0508) FAMILY.




2. Christchurch City Council’s Community and Safety Team, under the Safer Christchurch banner, is undertaking a project to work with retailers in the city that sell volatile substances.

The Safer Christchurch partners are working with retailers to reduce access to products that can be harmful if misused. The initiative involves the Christchurch City Council, Police, the local Child Youth Mortality Review Group (CDHB), Community Action Youth and Drugs, and Child Youth and Family and is supported by the New Zealand Drug Foundation.



The volatile substance awareness initiative (see herehttp://www.ccc.govt.nz/cityleisure/communityservices/  saferchch/volatilesubstancesawareness.aspx commenced with the team undertaking  face to face site visits to all Christchurch retailers who stock products like butane canisters, spray paint and lighter refills, to:

  • provide them with an information pack about volatile substance abuse and how they can sell these products responsibly
  • collate base-line data about what products are for sale, how they are displayed and sold and any issues retailers report
  • gauge retailers’ level of awareness of the issues and support for voluntary policies of practice in relation to the sale of volatile substances
  • To thank those retailers who already have voluntary retail policies in place for sale of these products
  • promote responsible retailing practices and support a commitment to building safe communities in the city.

Information is now also being shared with school counsellors and youth workers and other groups in the community. Future steps and follow-up activities will be developed in collaboration with the initiative partners. This complements other community safety work being undertaken by Council staff and the Police with retailers in Christchurch.

If you are interested in finding out more about this initiative, contact the Community Safety Team, Christchurch City Council, phone 03 941 8999.

Education is important
but we must be careful about how we
deal with that. Let’s not target directly
the young people themselves, but
people around them.
Ross Bell