To fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of the epidemiology of inhalant drug use. We examine age, sex, and race or ethnicity variations in the occurrence of inhalant use as well as time trends and the purported transitory nature of inhalant use among adolescents in the United States.
The data analyzed in this report were collected as part of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse from 1990 through 1995. This annual survey is designed to provide cross-sectional information about the patterns of drug use among nationally representative samples of US household residents aged 12 years and older.
The sample included 34826 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who participated in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse from 1990 through 1995 (N=2177-8005 per survey year).
The use of inhalants, particularly aerosols and glue, increased during the first half of the current decade. Initiation of inhalant use is not limited to early adolescence and is not a transitory behavior among adolescents in the United States. The use of inhalants is equally common among members of both sexes, and non-Hispanic white youths are more likely to report use than are members of other race or ethnic groups.
The increasing use of inhalants, their widespread availability, and the risks involved with their use indicate a need for more focused attention on this public health problem.