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The Problem with Aboriginal Youth and Inhalants


According to Coleman, Charles and [[#|Collins]] (2001), Aboriginal youth are using inhalants at higher rates than any other youth population. In one central broadcast that showed the lives of aboriginals living in the Davis Inlet in Newfoundland, Canada, youth were seen abusing gasoline, raising awareness that there is indeed a problem. In the small documentary of those featured living in Davis Inlet, a family is shown to have considerable problems with substance abuse. Both parents suffer from alcohol addiction and the children use as a means to deal with the parents, which contrasts the parents belief that they drink to escape the problems of their children. The family has had a difficult time with the substance abuse, as one of their boys died while huffing gas with his other siblings. One of the boys recalls watching his brother burn to death and can still hear his brother calling out to him through his hallucinations when he uses gas. One study conducted by Coleman, Charles and Collins (2001), indicated that 90% of those children in treatment (where the study took place) had a history of substance abuse, other then the identified youth, in the family. This links the stress of the family identified in Davis Inlet to the substance abuse problems.
Age of initial use for Aboriginal youth is averaged around nine years old, while other populations are differing from 11 to 13 (Coleman, Charles, & Collins, 2001). The greatest triggers are associated with negative emotional states; the largest being anger, followed by boredom, sadness, and loneliness. During treatment, youth were seen as agressive and few were motivated to change. When discharged from treatment, a significant factor in preventing relapse was positive family [[#|support]]. Those children that went back into a home where substance abuse was still practiced, particularly when both spouses abused substances, youth were more likely to relapse (Coleman, Charles, & Collins, 2001).

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This hill behind the house is known as "sniffers hill"


Below is a short video clip of six children from Davis Inlet screaming they wanted to die from inhalant use. Retrieved from:
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/poverty/davis-inlet-innu-community-in-crisis/a-heart-wrenching-cry-for-help.html