Almost 5 percent of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 used an inhalant to get high in 2005, an increase from 4.1 percent in 2002, according to a new report. Overall, inhalant use by boys and girls in this age group remained stable over the 4-year period, at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent, or an estimated 1.1 million adolescents.
The report, "Patterns and Trends in Inhalant Use by Adolescent Males and Females: 2002-2005," is based on an analysis of the 2002-2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA, NIDA, and other federal agencies released the report at a March 15 press conference to kick off the 15th National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week, March 18-25.
"Young people who turn to inhalants may be completely unaware of the serious health risks," said NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Timothy P. Condon. "We know that inhalant abuse can start early, with research suggesting that even preadolescent children seek them out because they are easy to obtain. NIDA research also indicates that those who begin using inhalants at an early age are more likely to become dependent on them—and long-term inhalant abusers are among the most difficult drug abuse patients to treat."
The report is available at http://www.drugabusestatistics.samhsa.gov/2k7/inhalants/inhalants.pdf (PDF, 213KB).