As sellers of volatile substances, retailers can contribute to the prevention of volatile substance use (VSU) by limiting the opportunities for products to be obtained for the purposes of intoxication. Reducing access to supply forms an important part of a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing VSU.
Retailers can provide a great service to their community through thoughtful storage and display of volatile substances and exercising their right to refuse sale. This may include storing certain high-risk substances out of reach and displaying signs stating the retailer’s right to refuse sale.
In Western Australia, it is against the law to ‘supply intoxicants to people likely to abuse them’, as per Section 206 of the Western Australian Criminal Code which states:
“A person who sells or supplies an intoxicant to another person in circumstances where the person knows, or where it is reasonable to suspect, that that or another person will use it to become intoxicated is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for 12 months and a fine of $12 000”
Section 206 specifically identifies an intoxicant as a drug, or “a volatile or other substance, capable of intoxicating a person” and a volatile substance as “a substance that produces a vapour at room temperature”.
For more information about how to raise retailers' awareness of the VSU issue, see the Retailer strategy page of this website.
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Department of Human Services. Victoria. National Inhalant Abuse Taskforce. Considers existing initiatives, programs and strategies to address inhalant abuse in Australia and makes recommendations for a national response to inhalant abuse. See Section 6.4 - Encouraging responsible retailing (pp 53-54) which includes a discussion on possible retailer interventions, recommendations and guidelines for working with retailers.
See other Retailer-related resources from the Resource Library of this website.