Patterns and Trends in Inhalant Use by Adolescent Males and Females, 2002-2005

Combined data from SAMHSA’s 2002 to 2005 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health found an annual average of 1.1 million (4.5%) youths aged 12 to 17 used an inhalant in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. About 2.6% of all youth who had not used inhalants before were new users (that is, had used an inhalant for the first time in the past year. The annual average of new users was 600,000 youth (289,000 males and 311,000 females).
The types of inhalants most frequently mentioned as having been used in the past year by new users were: glue, shoe polish, or toluene (30.5%), gasoline or lighter fluid (25.3%), nitrous oxide or “whippets” (23.9%), and spray paints (23.5%).
Among new inhalants users, females were more likely than males to have used: glue, shoe polish, or toluene (34.9% vs. 25.8%); spray paints (26.1% vs. 20.8%); aerosol sprays other than spray paints (23.0% vs. 16.4%); correction fluid, degreaser, or cleaning fluid (23.4% vs. 13.6%); and amy nitrite, “poppers,” locker room odorizers, or “rush” (18.2% vs. 11.6%).
New male inhalant users were more likely than females to have used nitrous oxide or “whippets” (29.0% vs.19.3%). Between 2002 and 2005, use of nitrous oxide or whippets declined among new inhalant users (from 31.6% to 21.3% in 2005). In contrast, use of aerosol sprays other than spray paints doubled from 12.6% of new inhalant using youth in 2002 to 25.4% of new inhalant using youth in 2005.

Source: The NSDUH Report: Patterns and Trends in Inhalant Use by Adolescent Males and Females, 2002-2005

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