March 16, 2009

Study: Fewer U.S. teens sniffing glue

The number of adolescents ages 12-17 who inhale household items such as glue, shoe polish, lighter fluid and spray paint, has declined, U.S. officials said.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health defines inhalants as liquids, sprays, and gases that people sniff or inhale to get high or to make them feel good.

In 2007, almost 1 million teens -- a 3.9 percent of adolescents -- were found to have used inhalants in the past year. That was lower than the rate in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Past-year dependence on or abuse of inhalants remained relatively stable between 2002 and 2007, with 0.4 percent of adolescents -- around 99,000 teens -- meeting the criteria for dependence or abuse in 2007.

Also in 2007, 2.1 percent of adolescents who had not previously used inhalants began using them during the 12 months prior to the survey. That rate was lower than the rates of initiation for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, the survey found.

Although the rates of inhalant use and inhalant initiation appeared to be on a downward trend -- particularly since 2005 -- the rates of dependence on or abuse of the substances remained stable between 2002 and 2007, the report said.