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Med J Aust. 1991 Feb 18;154(4):269-74.

Volatile substance abuse.

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Alcohol and Drug Services, Royal Darwin Hospital, Casuarina, NT.


Volatile substance abuse has been reported in the literature over the past 20 years or so, and has apparently increased as countries have become more industrialised. This review attempts to clarify trends in volatile substance abuse, problems associated with this behaviour and possible solutions. Data sources included a Medline Search on volatile substance abuse over the last five years, Commonwealth publications, recent State and Territory inhouse publications, three research monographs from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and an article library from the author's workplace. Some 250 articles and monographs were identified, reviewed and categorised into sections relating to epidemiology (including mortality), physiological effects and responses to the problem. Articles were used for reference where they reflected the most up-to-date information or where they were seen as authoritative statements. While the body of knowledge concerning volatile substance abuse has improved, little progress has been made in finding effective solutions to the problem. The fact that users are typically young and that there is a real risk of sudden death associated with even initial use suggests that continuing research is needed to develop innovative approaches to the problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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