Nearly 700,000 adolescents used inhalants to get high in 2015 according to a new report, Understanding Adolescent Inhalant Use, released by SAMHSA last month. Inhalants are considered every day products that are typically found in a home including spray paints, glues, markers and gasoline. They are harmless when used as directed; however, they can be fatal when intentionally abused. Among the 12 – 17 year old population, felt-tip markers were the most commonly identified type of inhalant used to get high followed by glue, shoe polish, toluene and spray paints. Adolescents were more likely than adults to have use inhalants to get high (2.7 vs 0.4%). Inhalant abuse peaked at age 12-13 and decreased through the teen years. Female adolescents were more likely than male adolescents to use inhalants (3.2 vs 2.3%).
Signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse include 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. If you suspect a child or loved one is abusing inhalants it is important to speak to professionals and address it immediately as it can be fatal. Early detection is key to prevent further abuse and possibly addiction.