Over 1 million adults abuse inhalants each year
Inhalant abuse is now a multi-generational problem. "Huffing," or intentionally inhaling a chemical vapor to get "high," was thought to be a life-threatening risk primarily among children and adolescents. However, a recent study from SAMHSA shows that 54 percent of treatment admissions related to inhalants abuse in 2008 involved adults age 18 and older.
Findings from the study reveal that 52 percent of these adult admissions involved people age 18 to 29, 32 percent involved people age 30 to 44, and 16 percent involved people age 45 and older.
SAMHSA announced the study’s findings in collaboration with the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) at National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week in March. The SAMHSA study was based on data collected from treatment facilities across the country.
Inhalants can produce mind-altering effects. Chronic use of inhalants can cause irreversible damage to the brain, kidneys, and lungs, as well as death.
The magnitude of the inhalant problem among adults is also highlighted in the latest figures from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which shows that an estimated 1.1 million adults over age 18 used inhalants in the past year.
"Inhalant abuse is an equal opportunity killer that does not discriminate on the basis of age, background, or gender," said H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
The SAMHSA Spotlight Study, Adults Represent Majority of Inhalant Treatment Admissions, is based on data from SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set, a reporting system involving treatment facilities from across the country. The study was developed as part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Data, Outcomes, and Quality.