Adolescents were more than twice as likely to abuse inhalants in 2015 than adults, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“Inhalants are legal, everyday products — including spray paints, felt-tip markers, glue and gasoline — that are harmless when used as intended. However, when the vapors from these products are intentionally inhaled to get high, they become potentially toxic and sometimes lethal,” Rachel N. Lipari, PhD, of SAMHSA, wrote. “Understanding the characteristics of people who engage in inhalant use is vital to assessing policies intended to reduce inhalant use.”
To characterize inhalant use among adolescents, Lipari analyzed data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health for individuals aged 12 to 17 years.
In 2015, approximately 684,000 adolescents used inhalants in the past year.
Inhalant use to get high was more common among adolescents, compared with adults (2.7% vs. 0.4%).
Female adolescents were more likely to abuse inhalants in the past month, compared with male adolescents (3.2% vs. 2.3%).
More than half (59%) of adolescents with past-year inhalant use used inhalants 1 to 11 days in the past year, while 19.3% used inhalants 12 to 49 days.
Felt-tip pens/markers or magic markers were the most commonly used inhalants among adolescents in 2015.
“The results in this report underscore that adolescents of all race/ethnicities, across the country, and in rural and metropolitan settings are vulnerable to inhalant use,” Lipari said. “Therefore, continuing efforts are needed to educate adolescents, parents, teachers, physicians, service providers, and policymakers about the dangers and health risks of inhalant use.” – by Amanda Oldt
Lipari RN. CBHSQ report: Understanding adolescent inhalant use. Available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data. Accessed June 13, 2017.
Disclosure: Lipari reports no relevant financial disclosures.