More Pre-Teens Abusing Inhalants SAMHSA Press Release
June 1, 2004
While overall teen drug use is declining, new data analysis
show fewer pre-teens see risk in
Inhalants and more are willing to experiment
NEW YORK, June 1st – Abuse of inhalants by middle school
children has increased by as much as 44 percent over a two-year
period, driven by fewer and fewer children seeing risk in
experimenting with inhalants to get high, according to a new
data analysis conducted and released today by the Partnership
for a Drug-Free America.
"It's clear that this new generation of pre-teens has a lot to
learn about the lethal nature of inhalant abuse," said Steve
Pasierb, president & CEO of the Partnership. "We've got two
concerns to contend with: 1) the fact that more kids are using
inhalants to get high, and 2) fewer kids seeing risk in this
behavior, which suggests more kids will experiment in the
Drawn from the Partnership's latest national survey on drug use,
the new analysis reports that over the past two years inhalant
abuse increased by 18 percent (from 22 to 26 percent) among 8th
graders and by 44 percent (from 18 to 26 percent) among 6th
Commonly known among adolescents as "sniffing," "inhaling" or
"huffing," inhalant abuse is the deliberate inhalation of fumes
from common products found in homes, offices and schools to get
high. Approximately one in four 8th graders – or almost one
million youngsters – has reported trying an inhalant at least
once in their lives. Inhalant abuse can cause brain damage and
can lead to death, even at the trial stage.
The percentage of kids associating risk with using inhalants
also dropped significantly over the past two years. The
perception that sniffing of huffing inhalants can kill you fell
14 percent among 8th graders (from 73 to 63 percent) and
decreased 29 percent among 6th graders (from 68 to 48 percent).
New Inhalant Education Initiative
The Partnership is re-launching its inhalant education campaign
as part of a nationwide effort across all major media markets
with a renewed focus on preventing inhalant abuse.
The Partnership and the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE)
are discussing ways to help educate parents about the dangers of
inhalant abuse by building awareness through prevention efforts.
"Working closely with The Partnership as an alliance partner, we
will be able to reach millions of parents and educators to help
stem the tide of increased inhalant abuse among preteens," said
Carleen Kreider, president of the Alliance for Consumer
Education (ACE). "We have dedicated our efforts at ACE to
educate as many parents and other adults nationwide about this
risky behavior. We hope to help empower parents to talk to their
children about the dangers of inhalants because we know that the
threat of inaction can be even more dangerous."
Overall, teen drug use is trending downward in the United
States. Lifetime use of any illegal drug is down by 10 percent
over the last five years (from 51 percent in 1998 to 46 percent
in 2003). Over the past five years,
Marijuana trial or lifetime use has declined from 42
to 39 percent, a seven percent reduction. And teen trial or
Ecstasy , which peaked in 2001, has declined by 25
percent (from 12 to 9 percent). The one exception to this
positive trend is the up-tick in inhalant abuse among pre-teens.
"The Partnership's findings are quite alarming and confirm what
we are seeing at the state and local levels," said Harvey Weiss,
executive director of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition
(NIPC) in Austin, Texas. "We must talk about the very real
threats of inhalants with our children; to do nothing about this
now invites needless tragedies."
The 2003 PATS study, conducted for the Partnership by Roper
Public Affairs & Media, under grants from the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, interviewed 7,270 adolescents nationwide. An
additional teen sample of 1140 adolescents in the 6th grade was
also included. Data are nationally projectable with a +/- 1.5
percent margin of error.
ACE is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to advancing community
health and well being. The flagship program of ACE is Inhalant
Abuse Education and Prevention.
The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) was founded in
1992 and views inhalant abuse as a public health problem. It
provides all segments of a community with resources, materials
and referrals and leads National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness
Week. The NIPC has established a grief support network for
parents who have lost their child to inhalants.
For parents and those who care for children, resources, tips and
the latest information about drugs and inhalant abuse are
available at the Partnership's parent resource center on-line at
www.drugfree.org or ACE at
www.consumered.org or NIPC at