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Inhalants

Brief Description

Many products readily found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids—contain volatile substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. People do not typically think of these products as drugs because they were never intended for that purpose. However, these products are sometimes abused in that way. They are especially (but not exclusively) abused by young children and adolescents, and are the only class of substance abused more by younger than by older teens. Learn more

Statistics and Trends

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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Inhalants for 8th-Graders, 10th-Graders, and 12th-Graders; 2013 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th-Graders 10th-Graders 12th-Graders
Inhalants Lifetime 10.80 8.70 6.90
Past Year [5.20] 3.50 2.50
Past Month 2.30 1.30 1.00

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National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Inhalants for Ages 12 or Older, Ages 12 to 17, Ages 18 to 25, and Ages 26 or Older; 2012 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period Ages 12 or Older Ages 12 to 17 Ages 18 to 25 Ages 26 or Older
Inhalants Lifetime 8.10 [6.50] 8.40 8.30
Past Year 0.70 [2.60] 1.40 0.30
Past Month 0.20 0.80 0.40 0.10

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Inhalants (DrugFacts)

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Provides an overview of inhalants, such as types of products commonly inhaled, how they affect the brain, other adverse effects on health, and the scope of use of inhalants in the U.S. En Español

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Provides scientific research on the nature and extent of inhalant abuse, its potential health consequences, and hazards of chemicals found in commonly abused inhalants. En Español

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Describes how inhalants, such as hair spray, gasoline, and spray paint, can cause nerve cell damage in the brain that can affect the body in a lot of ways. En Español

Related Resources

Other Resources

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This page was last updated December 2012

Research Report

Research Report Cover

Inhalants

Provides scientific research on the nature and extent of inhalant abuse, its potential health consequences, and hazards of chemicals found in commonly abused inhalants.

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