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Stories of Gasoline Sniffing

February 1, 1998

Gasoline sniffing is intoxicating and its side-effect include lead poisoning, hallucinations and death in chronic sniffers.

The mother of one sniffer described the hallucinatory effects on her son to researcher Maggie Brady, recounted in her 1992 book ``Heavy Metal.″

``They can see anything from that eye, (like) drive-in pictures. They close their eye and sniff and look at pictures. Cowboy, spider. Sometimes they ... see something coming _ devils chasing them around _ a cat can be a big monster.″

In more recent research, by Anne Mosey for the Northern Territory government, another mother told this story:

``(My son’s) been sniffing petrol for a long time now. He is Nyumpu (sick spirit) and he is so sad and depressed.

``He is getting weak now from years of sniffing. He’s very thin. ... He’s too disturbed. He can’t understand anything anymore. He can’t talk. He can only see out of one eye and he is getting blind. ...

``As he grew up he demanded to have his own way. He’d say `ngayuku kututu nyangatja’ _ this is my spirit not yours. Some of his friends have sniffed themselves to death and he was going to do the same. He told me, `I want to kill myself.′ ″

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