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Opal fuel cuts petrol sniffing

An agency working with central Australian petrol sniffers says the Opal roll-out has saved taxpayers US$100 million in the past two years. The special fuel does not give sniffers a high and has replaced regular unleaded at most bowsers across the region. Blair McFarland from the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service says there were more than 500 petrol sniffers before Opal. He says based on an independent report, the Opal roll-out has drastically reduced the financial and emotional cost of dealing with petrol sniffers. “That report looked at a period of five years before Opal rolled out and there were 35 deaths from petrol sniffing in that five-year period,” he said. “Simple math shows that there’s an average of seven deaths a year and since the Opal roll-out there’s been only one death, one which was very tragic. But certainly there’s been a lot less deaths from petrol sniffing since Opal rolled out.” (May 30, 2008)