Volatile substances

Volatile substances include petrol, solvents and aerosols that when inhaled can cause significant side effects, as well as damage to the brain.

Go to the Northern Territory (NT) Government website for information about the health effects of volatile substances

A Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) Management Area can be declared in a community to control the possession, supply, use and storage of inhalants.

Legislation

The NT Government introduced the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act in 2006 to prevent substance abuse and protect individuals and communities from harm.

Read the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act

VSA management areas 

Under the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act, residents and community councils can request that the Health Minister declares a place a management area and approves a management plan.

This controls the possession, sale and supply, use and storage of volatile substances that cause harm.

People who live in or visit communities with VSA management plans should be aware of and comply with these rules.

Visiting a VSA management area

Even if a management plan is not in force where people may live, visit or work, it is important to use volatile substances responsibly:

  • use low aromatic fuel when and where available
  • if low aromatic is not available use a lockable fuel cap or diesel-powered equipment
  • secure inhalants and fuel-powered equipment
  • lock up aerosols, glues and other substances that may be abused
  • remove or safely dispose of all glues, paints, aerosols and other inhalants when leaving the community.

Contractors who plan to visit and work at communities should read the Contractors Guide for Visiting Communities.

The maximum penalty for contravening a management plan is 100 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

Forms

Communities 

The communities listed below have a declared management area, some also have approved management plans.

Top End

DistrictCommunity
Darwin

Gunbalanya

Kakadu

East Arnhem

Gapuwiyak 

Galiwin'ku 

Maningrida

Numbulwar

Ramingining

Yirrkala

Katherine

Beswick (Wugularr)

Jilkminggan

Kalano

Minyerri (Alawa)

Wadeye

Weemol

Walangeri

Central Australia

DistrictCommunity
BarklyAlpurrurulam
Alice Springs

Hoppy's Camp

Ikuntji

Kaltukatjara

Kintore

Mount Liebig

Ntaria

Papunya

Yarrenyty Arltere (Larapinta)

More information

See below for organisations addressing inhalant misuse or go to the NT Government website for information about NT drug rehabilitation services.

DescriptionLocation

The Top End Health Service and Central Australia Health Service have primary responsibility for the delivery of clinical services components of the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act.

This includes assessment of referrals, treatment options and aftercare. 


Amity Community Services is a non-government organisation currently leading a project to reduce the health and social harms associated with volatile substance misuse in the Top End region of the NT.

Call (08) 8944 6565
Go to the Amity website.

The Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service (CAYLUS) is a local non-government organisation.

CAYLUS supports communities in Central Australia to prevent and respond to inhalant abuse, through community development initiatives such as youth diversion programs and rehabilitation services, supply reduction strategies and casework.

Call (08) 8951 4236 or go to the CAYLUS website.

Print all pages in this section

Last updated: 12 April 2017