Social meaning of inhalant use in Victoria: Implications for development of policy and intervention

Researcher

Dr Sarah McLean

Summary

Chroming—sniffing aerosol paint fumes—is a form of inhalant use that has attracted significant policy interest over recent years in Australia. Young people who are acutely socially marginalised are the main participants in chroming and are identified, according to most previous research, as dysfunctional individuals. Victorian policy responses explain chroming as a symptom of sickness or incapacity.

This study applies contemporary sociological analysis to the world of inhalant users in Melbourne, drawing on interviews with users, ex-users and expert workers, as well as wider public accounts in research, policy and media coverage.

This study also critiques current Victorian policy approaches to inhalant use and suggests ways in which harms associated with inhalant use and with existing treatment and management strategies might be reduced.

Outcomes

This research provides new understandings of chroming from the perspectives of users and ex-users. Centrally, it shows why inhalant use is attractive to some marginalised young people. The thesis argues that understanding the pleasures of inhalant use is critical in designing policy and intervention.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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