17. Sniffing, "choke choke" and "hang hang" - is it just a game?
Many Yolngu children who sniff substances such as petrol/glue or practice ‘hang hang’ (putting a cord, shirt or jumper around their neck and tightening it) or ‘choke choke’ (using their thumb and first finger to close off the arteries in their neck) to get high, believe they are just playing a harmless game.
No medical information exists amongst their carers to give them any other information. We found that many Yolngu adults have lots of questions about these practices and do not want to just be told that ‘sniffing is bad for you’. They want to know exactly how and why these practices affect the body and brain.
This podcast takes an indirect approach to explain why these actions are harmful, slowly building the case of how oxygen starvation kills brain cells. The final program in this podcast works from the Yolngu worldview, reminding them that to kill an enemy was to throw a spear across their throat stopping the blood supply to the brain and leading to instant death. 


Note: Yolngu Matha (one of the original Australian languages) is a very powerful language to teach this type of information as Yolngu people have a deep zoological and biological knowledge base, much deeper than mainstream Australians.



There are 6 stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below-

  • Is petrol sniffing just a joke or a game?    0:00
  • We can stop sniffing if everyone get this real story about oxygen starvation of the brain.    10:13
  • Are there different poisons in different petrol and things children sniff?    24:02
  • What are volatile substances and VSA?    38:12
  • Fumes block oxygen and kills our brain.    47:45
  • Our brain is boss for all our body.    1:00:49