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.”
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 http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/175/175RespiratoryCond.cfm.
Respiratory conditions are asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis.
Source: 2006 to 2008 SAMHSA National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs).