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> Inhalants
Where can I get more scientific information on inhalant abuse? To learn more about inhalants and other drugs of abuse, or to order materials on these topics free of charge in English or Spanish, visit the NIDA Web site at http://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov/ or contact the DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center at 877-NIDA-NIH (877-643-2644; TTY/TDD: 240-645-0228). 

Inhalants: Nothing to Sniff At 
CASAC has taken the lead in the Capital Area on the issue of inhalants. With numerous public service announcements, programs, and education campaigns, CASAC has got the message out: Inhalents Kill. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, although many parents are concerned about drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, they too often ignore the dangers of common household products that contain volatile solvents or aerosols. Yet inhalants are the third most abused substances among 12 to 14-year-olds in the United States, coming in right behind alcohol and tobacco. 

Who are the abusers? 
A 2004 Monitoring the Future Survey shows a jump in the number of 8th graders who have used inhalants at least once in their lives, from 15.8% in 2003, to 17.3% in 2004. 2004 NECASA (Northeastern CT) survey reports that 12% of 9th graders and 15% of 10th graders report use inhalants at least once in their lives. A 2000 CT State Incentive Grant Survey indicated that 11.1% of 7th and 8th graders, and 14.4% of 9th and 10th graders report use of inhalants at least once in their lives.

What is abused? 
Over 1,000 common everyday products found in homes, offices and schools, including: gasoline - paint thinner - nitrous oxide - glue - correction fluid - aerosol propellants in products like hair spray, deodorant spray and whipped cream.  

What are the effects? 
Short-term effects include stimulation followed by depression, headache, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, and breathing difficulties. Chronic use produces hearing loss and damage to the central nervous system (including the brain), bone marrow, kidneys and liver, and blood oxygen depletion. 39% of deaths by inhalants are the result of first time use that induces heart failure or suffocation, known as Sudden Sniffing Death. 

What is being done? 
Education is the key. Research shows that rates of use declined in the early 1990's with public education and awareness campaigns. Without a focus on inhalants in the last 10 years, there has been a slow increase in the number of users. Prevention efforts focus on educating parents, teachers and adults who work with youth. To address the threat of inhalant abuse in CT, the CT Inhalant Task Force* has distributed 400 curriculum kits throughout the state to help disseminate factual and reliable information. A statewide network has been developed to assist local families and communities understand the danger that inhalants pose to the health and safety of youth. 

Available materials for local groups and individuals to use include:
  • What Every Student Should Know About Inhalants - CASAC's comprehensive curriculum and study guide for teachers of grades 6 through 8.
  • What You Don't Know - This brochure, produced by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, is available in bulk from CASAC.
  • Right Under Your Nose - A program that teaches professionals and parents about inhalants, how they act in the body, and how to prevent inhalant abuse. The program is offered in two versions: a 45-minute to 1-hour program for parents; and a longer 2 1/2-hour program for teachers and professionals that includes training in prevention.
In addition, CASAC staff can make appropriate referrals for youth and adults dealing with issues of inhalant abuse. For more information on this program, please contact Mirelle Freedman, Executive Director at 860.286.9333. Want to know more about inhalants? Be sure to read the Inhalants Fact Sheets available through the Connecticut Clearinghouse. 

*The CT Statewide Inhalant Task Force is a partnership between DMHAS and the Meriden and Wallingford Substance Abuse Council, Inc., and operates as a subcommittee of the CT Coalition for the Advancement of Prevention. For more information on the CT Inhalant Task Force or to locate resources in your community, contact Marlene F. McGann at 203.294.3591 or mbfmcg@aol.com.
> Inhalants
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