Petrol sniffing among Indigenous youth is falling.
Cannabis and alcohol is the biggest problem identified in a study on the issue with Katherine believed to be among those communities included in the study.
A new study into the prevalence of petrol sniffing in selected Indigenous communities has found a total 95.2 per cent reduction in the number of people sniffing petrol since 2007.
Unfortunately while petrol sniffing is on the decline, other substances like deodorants, spray paints, glue and aerosols are being sniffed.
Alcohol and cannabis are the drugs causing the most serious concern in most of the study communities.
There was some use of the drug ice, leading to fears its impact will increase.
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt, said the downward trend aligned with the Federal Government's continued roll out of low aromatic unleaded fuel (such as Opal fuel) and is making communities safer and healthier.
"The results of the University of Queensland's study in petrol sniffing and other substance abuse trends in Indigenous communities are encouraging," Minister Wyatt said.
"The Government remains committed to the production and supply of low aromatic fuel, in partnership with the fuel industry and local communities, as a strategy to reduce the scourge of petrol sniffing.
"This study shows that the strategy is working and reducing incidents of this highly destructive behaviour."
The University of Queensland studied 11 communities where low aromatic fuel is available and reports that over the 2017 and 2018 period the total number of people sniffing petrol fell a further 7 per cent since the last survey in 2014.
Katherine was mentioned in the report.
"In the Katherine region (NT) there was little change in the level of petrol sniffing in one community and a decline in another," the study said.
"...since 2016 it has been subject to provisions of the Low Aromatic Fuel Act; second, although the number of people known to be sniffing petrol was very small, a small, a larger cohort of young people were believed to engage in occasional sniffing of aerosol deodorants".
"We can do more to further stamp out petrol sniffing and other substance abuse. There are no easy fixes, but by working with communities, local organisations and health services, and across all levels of Government, I am confident we will continue to address the underlying causes of substance abuse," Minister Wyatt said.
Tristan Ray from the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service, a regional petrol sniffing prevention program based in Alice Springs, said low aromatic fuel has made a significant impact on their community.
"In 2006 when low aromatic fuel was first rolled out in Central Australia, there were around 500 people sniffing in our region with an average of seven deaths per year; it was an epidemic," Mr Ray said.
"These days there wouldn't even be 20 people sniffing in the same region. The introduction of low aromatic fuel was a community-driven solution supported by governments, retailers and the fuel industry that has worked well and stood the test of time.
"Reducing petrol sniffing is one tangible thing we are doing to improve the day to day life for our young people in remote communities. It complements other efforts to also reduce substance abuse, including providing reliable youth sport and recreation programs, culture and language schooling, and improving community safety and health."
University of Queensland researcher, Professor Peter d'Abbs, who conducted the study, said "Low aromatic fuel is effective and enjoys widespread community support. At the same time, the study also demonstrates the continuing need for measures that help to reduce demand for inhalants and other drugs, such as youth and recreation programs".
The study says: "If the benefits of the LAF (low aromatic fuel)program as a supply reduction strategy are to be fully realised, the factors that drive demand for volatiles substances and other drugs among young people need to be identified and addressed."