Inhalant makers asked to join fight against chroming
DEODORANT manufacturers have been asked to change the recipe of their products in a bid to tackle chroming in the Far North and across the state.
Health Minister Steven Miles has called for a meeting between health officials, retailers, community services and clinicians.
The move comes several weeks after Cairns police successfully lobbied to have certain deodorant brands removed from the shelves of supermarkets and general stores around the city to combat the growing problem.
Last week the Cairns Post published several shocking pictures of youths engaged in the dangerous act at a local park, including one boy who was aged just nine.
"I am calling on manufacturers, who know their products have a high risk of being misused, to change their formulas where they can," he said, speaking in parliament.
Mr Miles said he acted after hearing "devastating stories" linked to chroming and being contacted by deodorant distributer Unilever.
"Unilever, to their credit, contacted me and have acknowledged one of their products contains a high level of butane, which makes it a common choice for chroming."
He said the firm had been asked to join the round table meeting.
Mr Miles told parliament that during the last financial year 98 people were admitted 141 times to hospitals due to volatile solvent misuse. He said almost half were aged between 10 and 19.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said inhalant abuse was a complex social problem requiring support from government, industry and the community-based sector.
"Just like with petrol reformulation, it may be possible for manufacturers to change their product to make them less intoxicating," he said.
"But most importantly we need to support these young people."
Mr Miles said Queensland Health's specialist youth statewide support service, Dovetail had developed a range of inhalant resources, including fact sheets on effective responses and a retailers guide.