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Inhalant Abuse and Prevention

Valuable information on inhalant abuse and prevention

Who Abuses Inhalants?

  • People who abuse inhalants live in both urban and rural settings. Poverty, a history of physical or sexual abuse, poor grades, and school dropout all are associated with inhalant abuse.
  • Most inhalant abusers are younger than age 25. One national survey indicates that about 3 percent of U.S. children have tried inhalants by the time they reach fourth grade.
  • Eighth-graders generally abuse at higher rates than 10th- or 12th-graders.
  • In 2004, 8th-grade girls reported more inhalant abuse than boys, while 12th-grade boys reported more than girls.

How Can Inhalant Abuse Be Recognized?

Early identification is a key to inhalant abuse prevention before it causes serious health consequences. Parents, educators, family physicians, and other health care practitioners should be alert to the following signs of a serious inhalant abuse problem:

  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
  • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
  • Drunk or disoriented appearance
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression

Inhalant abuse and prevention can be recognized when someone knows what signs to look for and how to safeguard against the possibility of someone abusing chemicals by inhaling them.

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