ABOUT three children are hospitalised every week due to a growing glue sniffing habit, an indigenous health worker has revealed.
Aboriginal Women's Corporation employee Sharilee Marr said she feared for the safety of many indigenous children in the region who had turned to sniffing toxic substances including glue and aerosol sprays.
“It has really increased in the last few months,” Ms Marr said.
“These children are doing it everywhere. In the main streets, in drains, in supermarkets and in playgrounds.”
Ms Marr said about three children were hospitalised every week after sniffing glue but there were plenty more kids involved in the dangerous act.
“Glue sniffing is more prominent now and it's going to kill these kids' brain cells and damage their vocal cords and respiratory system,” she said.
“They are going into supermarkets and buying or stealing glue, aerosols and plastic bags.”
Ms Marr said the age of the culprits was disturbing.
“It's usually 13 or 14-year-olds, but now the younger kids are hanging around them and they are doing it too,” she said.
Member for Burnett Rob Messenger has issued a question on notice to parliament asking Premier Anna Bligh to take urgent action to protect children from the epidemic.
“We need to provide education about the dangers of glue sniffing,” he said.
“This is not just an indigenous problem, this is a problem that is becoming widespread in Bundaberg and we need to raise awareness.”