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Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Sep;15(7):443-54.

Inhalant abuse.

[Article in English, French]


Inhalant abuse - also known as volatile substance abuse, solvent abuse, sniffing, huffing and bagging - is the deliberate inhalation of a volatile substance to achieve an altered mental state. Inhalant abuse is a worldwide problem that is especially common in individuals from minority and marginalized populations, and is strongly correlated with the social determinants of health. It often affects younger children, compared with other forms of substance abuse, and crosses social and ethnic boundaries. Inhalants are pharmacologically diverse products that are selected for their low price, legal and widespread availability, and ability to rapidly induce euphoria. Chronic abuse is associated with serious and often irreversible effects. Widespread screening and early referrals to treatment programs have resulted in significant improvements in the mental, physical and social conditions of those affected. The present statement reviews critical aspects of inhalant abuse, highlighting new information and data that pertain to Aboriginal children and youth, and provides recommendations for treatment and prevention.


Abuse; Inhalant; Solvent; Volatile substance

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