NT Woolies locks up aerosol deodorants

Woolworths is trialling secure cabinets for aerosol deodorants at a Darwin store.
Woolworths is trialling secure cabinets for aerosol deodorants at a Darwin store.

Woolworths is locking up aerosol deodorant products in its Northern Territory stores in a bid to help reduce theft and inhalant abuse.

The supermarket giant is trialling secure cabinets in the health and beauty aisle at its Casuarina store, in Darwin's northern suburbs.

The cabinets, which are fitted with a bell to attract customer service, were set to be installed across the Top End, a Woolworths spokesman said.

"With these new cabinets, we're hoping to significantly reduce the opportunity for misuse," Woolworths NT manager Scott Mackay said in a statement on Thursday.

Chroming or solvent abuse, which is also known as huffing, sniffing or rexing, is a form of volatile substance abuse to achieve an altered mental state.

It's most common among young people and teenagers, who get high by breathing in or inhaling chemicals, like petrol, glue, paint or deodorant, that can often be purchased over the counter.

Inhalant abuse has been a problem in many parts of the NT for decades, but only recently reached Darwin.

The Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service said Woolworths and Coles' initiatives were a positive step toward stamping out inhalant abuse.

"We applaud it," youth worker Blair McFarland said.

The community group, which is focused on helping young people affected by substance misuse, has given lockable cages for inhalants to stores in many remote communities and supermarkets in Tennant Creek, Katherine and Alice Springs.

"The day we locked the cabinets in those supermarkets and stores was the day the sniffing stopped," Mr McFarland said.

Coles stores across Darwin have already removed aerosol deodorants from the aisles and placed them behind lockable aerosol cabinets.

A spokeswoman told AAP the company had worked closely with local police and community groups to reduce the risks to young and vulnerable people.

"Customers seeking to purchase these products can simply ask a team member at the service desk for assistance," she said.

"We've had wonderful feedback. It takes the whole community to support this issue."

The NT government passed the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act in 2005 to help prevent, stop and treat the problem.

Australian Associated Press