Thursday, March 20, 2008

US Teens Prefer Inhalants to Marijuana, Researchers Say

Studies by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, with sponsorship from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, revealed that kids on the brink of being teenagers are using inhalants more often than marijuana and prescription painkillers.
According to these studies, inhaling common household products such as shoe polish, glue, aerosol air fresheners, hair sprays, nail polish, paint solvents, degreasers, gasoline and lighter fluid now appear to be the preferred way to get high in this age group.
About 3.4 percent of 12-year-olds reported using an inhalant, while only 1.1 percent tried marijuana, and 2.7 percent took prescription painkillers in 2007. That trend continued with 13-year-olds, with 4.8 percent using inhalants, 4 percent trying marijuana, and 3.9 percent taking prescription painkillers. By age 14, inhalant use dropped behind the use of marijuana, painkillers and other drugs.
“Our data show that 1.1 million 12-to-17-year-olds acknowledge using inhalants last year. Our data also indicate that there are almost 600,000 teenagers [who] start using inhalants annually,” Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse, said Thursday, according to Forbes.
Adolescent girls seem particularly vulnerable to inhalant abuse. According to the report, 41 percent of hospital admissions for inhalant abuse involved teenage girls, whereas only 30 percent of hospital admissions for non-inhalant drug abuse involved teen girls.
Dr. Clark added that short-term effects of inhalants include dizziness, nausea, confusing and lack of coordination. They can also cause neurological damage, along with sudden death from cardiac reactions or lack of oxygen. An exact number of adolescent dying from inhalants is not known though.
“Once kids start using inhalants, they are more susceptible to using other drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine as they age. Inhalants can produce psychological effects, but because they're readily accessible they are substitutes for other drugs,” Dr. Clark said.
He urged parents to be aware that preteens and young teenagers are at risk for using inhalants, just as older teens are, and they should be discussing these issues with their children.
“Parents should be able to clearly explain that inhalants are not drugs of abuse, but deadly poisons that while they may produce an effect also produce unintended consequences,” Dr. Clark said.
The studies also found that forty five percent of teens who used inhalants suffer from psychiatric disorders, compared with 29 percent of teens who used other drugs.

taken from eFluxMedia