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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2010, Volume 18, Number 2 

Image of a teen with an aerosol can

Inhalant Use and Respiratory Conditions: New Data

Approximately 143,000 young people age 12 to 17 used inhalants in the past year and had a condition such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, or sinusitis, according to a new study from SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies.

The study determined that the rate of use was 4.4 percent among adolescents who had at least one of the aforementioned respiratory conditions, similar to the rate among adolescents overall (4.1 percent).

An estimated 44,000 adolescents on a typical day put their health and lives at risk by using inhalants. The use of inhalants can seriously impair the proper functioning of the respiratory system as well as other systems in otherwise healthy individuals, resulting in unconsciousness, coma, or death—so it may pose an even greater risk to those with serious underlying respiratory conditions.

“No one should engage in huffing. The consequences can be deadly,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The fact that adolescents with respiratory problems are just as likely to engage in huffing as adolescents in general underscores the continued need to educate parents, teachers, service providers, and young people about what they can do to prevent this misuse of common everyday products.”

Other Findings

The study also provides insight into the prevalence of adolescent inhalant use by various demographic factors. For example, it shows that among the general population, American Indian or Alaska Native adolescents were more than twice as likely to engage in huffing as African American adolescents (5.5 versus 2.5 percent).

In addition, the study examines the types of inhalants most commonly used by adolescents with pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, or sinusitis (see chart below).

Adolescent Inhalant Use and Selected Respiratory Conditions is based on data collected during 2006 to 2008. Download the full report at

Specific Types of Lifetime Inhalant Use among Adolescents with At Least One of the Selected Respiratory Conditions*: 2006 to 2008

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Graphical chart -  Specific Types of Lifetime Inhalant Use among Adolescents with At Least One of the Selected Respiratory Conditions: 2006 to 2008 - click to enlarge image

*Respiratory conditions are asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis.

Source: 2006 to 2008 SAMHSA National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs).

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  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Take Action in Your Community

Take Action in Your Community

Three new campaigns bring powerful prevention messages to communities.

  From the Administrator  
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.

Considering Language in Our Field

Do you use certain terms to describe our field? See terms.

  More on Underage Drinking  
Sober Truth on Underage Drinking

Sober Truth on Underage Drinking

The STOP program is making a difference. Read about grantees in Ohio, Connecticut, and Wisconsin.

Town Hall Meetings Continue To Expand

Nearly 1,800 communities across the Nation recently met to discuss underage drinking.

State Estimates on Underage Drinking

State by state, the numbers differ on children and alcohol use.

  Women & Substance Abuse  
Treatment Improvement Protocol 51

Treatment Improvement Protocol 51

Gender makes a difference. TIP 51 can help providers offer women effective, up-to-date treatment.

Pregnant Teen Admissions

Pregnant Teen Admissions

Comparing data from 1992 and 2007 on admission rates.

  Treatment Updates  
Uninsured Workers: Recent Data

Uninsured Workers: Data

Who needs treatment for substance abuse?

Free Treatment Available

Some facilities offer substance abuse treatment at no charge or a sliding scale fee.

Opioid Treatment Programs: Two Reports

Opioid Treatment Programs: Two Reports

Methadone maintenance, buprenorphine maintenance. What are the similarities and differences among OTPs?

  Evidence-Based Practices  
Evidence-Based Practices KITs

Evidence-Based Practices KITs

The Knowledge Information Transformation (KIT) series offers new KITs.

Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

The Agency outlines a budget request totaling $3.7 billion.

More on the Budget . . .

Established programs, new initiatives, and SAMHSA’s Budget Authority by Activity and the Agency’s Congressional Justification.

  Grants Updates  
Promoting Mental Health Recovery

Promoting Mental Health

Five behavioral health care provider associations recently received funding.

  Media & Messages  
Art & Children’s Mental Health

Art & Children’s Mental Health

Every day is Children’s Mental Health Day: “My Feelings Are a Work of Art.”

1-800-273-TALK Is the Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK Is the Lifeline

Share the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Minds on the Edge

Minds on the Edge

Facing mental illness is the subject of a PBS program.

  Recovery Month  
Flyers Available

Flyers Available

For 2010 celebrations, the flyers are available in print and online.

Inhalant Use & Respiratory Conditions

Inhalant Use & Respiratory Conditions

Thousands of children age 12 to 17 with pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma used inhalants.


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road – Rockville, MD 20857
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