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Teen death in Kimberley linked to petrol sniffing: police

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 27 September 2003


There is renewed urgency to tackle the petrol sniffing problem in Western Australia's Kimberley following the death of another teenager at a remote community.

It is the third death believed to be linked to petrol sniffing in the area in two years.

Police investigating the death of the 17-year-old boy have not yet been able to establish a cause, but the teenager was known in the Balgo community to be one of about 10 chronic petrol sniffers.

Detective Sergeant Dean Leekong says he was found lying in the community's school playground in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"There's no visible signs of how he's died - and it would appear it may be contributed to years of solvent abuse," he said.

Government agencies have been meeting to devise an action plan for Balgo which has been plagued by the solvent abuse for years.One of the options being considered is for the community to stop selling petrol altogether.


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