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SAMHSA News - March/April, Volume 14, Number 2

1.8 Million Youth Initiate Inhalant Abuse

An average of 598,000 youth age 12 to 17 initiated inhalant use in the past 12 months, based on data from 2002 to 2004, according to a new report from SAMHSA released recently at a press conference by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition to kick off National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week in March.

This number represents an estimated 1.8 million new initiates to inhalants in 3 years. The report's data are extracted from 3 years of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Thirty percent of those initiating inhalant use in the 12 months prior to being surveyed were age 12 or 13, 39.2 percent were age 14 or 15, and 30.8 percent were age 16 or 17. The majority of these youth were white and from homes with incomes well above the poverty line.

The report, Characteristics of Recent Adolescent Inhalant Initiates, indicates that the most popular categories of inhalants among those who are recent initiates to the practice are glue, shoe polish, or toluene (used by 30.3 percent of new initiates); gasoline or lighter fluid (used by 24.9 percent); nitrous oxide or "Whippets" (used by 24.9 percent); spray paints (used by 23.4 percent); correction fluid, degreaser, or cleaning fluid (used by 18.4 percent); other aerosol sprays (used by 18.0 percent); amyl nitrite or "poppers," locker room deodorizers or "rush" (used by 14.7 percent); and lacquer thinner or other paint solvents (used by 11.7 percent).

For a copy of the report, visit the SAMHSA Web site at
. For more information, visit the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition Web site at or visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse Web site at www.inhalants.

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