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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1999 Nov;25(4):731-41.

Adolescent inhalant abuse: environments of use.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatric Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22908, USA. rel8s@virginia.edu


A questionnaire survey of 285 consecutively recruited adolescents who were adjudicated to juvenile correctional facilities in Virginia was conducted using the Inhalant Use Questionnaire (1). White youths (36.1%) and youths from other ethnic backgrounds (44.4%) are significantly more likely to report past inhalant use than black youths (1.4%). The median age reported for first-time use of inhalants is 13 years. Youths were divided between those who experimented with inhalants (27%) and those who were heavy users (27%). Huffing was preferred by 60% of youths. Of the youths, 52% reported using inhalants with friends present, whereas 34% used inhalants when they were alone. Sites where youths reported inhalant use include at a friend's home (68%), at home (54%), on the street (40%), at parties (28%), on school grounds (26%), and at school (18%). There are no gender differences in age of onset of inhalant use, lifetime frequency of inhalant use, frequency of inhalant use in the past year, or preferred method of using inhalants. The five substances most frequently used as inhalants include gasoline (by 57.4%), Freon (40.45%), butane lighter fluid (38.3%), glue (29.8%), and nitrous oxide (23.4%). There were no gender differences for use of other products.

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