VSU and the media

The media is a significant shaper of community attitudes and political responses to alcohol and other drug issues (National Inhalant Abuse Taskforce, 2006). In the case of preventing volatile substance use (VSU), the media has a critical role to play.

The way the media reports VSU incidents can have significant impact. Irresponsible or uninformed reporting can have an 'advertising' effect, potentially promoting copycat behaviour, particularly among young people. It can also stigmatise the user and potentially encourage the commencement of VSU by increasing awareness. The media should be encouraged to respond to VSU in a responsible manner at all times.

Balanced against this is the community’s right to a free press, to stories of interest and to know what’s happening in their community. Similarly, agencies have the right to work with the media to initiate social change and/or inform the public debate.

Well-targeted local publicity and information campaigns can help address problems associated with VSU and assist in garnering support for local projects (National Inhalant Abuse Taskforce, 2006). On the other hand, inappropriate media coverage can cause local hysteria about the issue and cause or escalate local outbreaks of use by raising young people’s awareness of inhalable products or inhalation methods (National Inhalant Abuse Taskforce, 2006).

For more information about VSU and the media, see the following pages of this website:

List of related resources laid out in a table.

A guide for media reporting on volatile substance use

Drug and Alcohol Office, WA. Information booklet for media regarding the reporting of volatile substance use.

Tags Media | pdf 659.0 KB

2012 DAO-6

National directions on inhalant abuse: Final report

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 2.8 - Media (pp 18-19) which contains guidelines and national recommendations.

Tags Media | Report

2005 DHSV-3iii

Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee - Inquiry into the inhalation of volatile substances: Final report

Parliament of Victoria, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee. See Chapter 25 - Volatile substance abuse and the role of the media (pp488-502).

Tags Media | Report

2002 DCPC-1iv

Australian Press Council Guidelines: Drugs and drug addiction

Australian Press Council. Guidelines for the responsible, accurate and ethical reporting of drug issues.

Tags Media | Publication

2001 APC-1

See other Media-related resources from the Resource Library of this website.