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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011 Apr;19(2):134-44. doi: 10.1037/a0022859.

Adverse consequences of acute inhalant intoxication.

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  • 1Trinity Institute for the Addictions, College of Social Work, Tallahassee, FL, USA.


Inhalants are widely misused by adolescents and are among the most toxic of psychoactive substances. This investigation examined the prevalence and correlates of adverse consequences of acute inhalant intoxication. Adolescent inhalant users (n = 279) in residential care completed structured interviews including assessments of the characteristics of their inhalant use. Multivariate logistic and linear regression and path analyses identified correlates of adverse inhalant intoxication-related experiences. Results of this study indicated that high-risk behaviors and adverse outcomes experienced during episodes of inhalant intoxication were common in this sample. High-frequency inhalant users were significantly more likely than moderate- and low-frequency users to experience adverse consequences of inhalant intoxication. Certain risky behaviors and consequences, such as engaging in unprotected sex or acts of physical violence while high on inhalants, were dramatically more common among high-frequency users than low-frequency users. Prior traumatic experiences, trait impulsivity, self-medication use of inhalants, and polydrug use were significant correlates of adverse inhalant-intoxication-related consequences. Adverse events and high-risk behaviors commonly occurred during episodes of inhalant intoxication in this sample of adolescents. High-frequency inhalant users and youth who used inhalants to medicate negative affective states were at elevated risk for such events.

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