There is also a strong peer-association element to inhalant abuse which is why identification of at-risk behaviors, preventative counseling, and education are among the most effective means of prevention (NIDA, 2010; Wu, Pilowsky, & Schlenger, 2004).
By the time pre-teens and adolescents begin experimenting with alcohol, tobacco products, chemical inhalants, and recreational drugs, it is much more difficult to intervene effectively than it is before those behaviors first emerge (Wu, Pilowsky, & Schlenger, 2004). Since inhalant abuse is one of the first forms of substance abuse available to children, the most effective approach to prevention and intervention is educational programs targeting elementary school children. By socializing younger children to recognize the dangers associated with inhalants, it is possible to reduce the likelihood that they will participate in that behavior by the time they reach the age of 12, which is when most participants begin experimenting with it for the first time (NIDA, 2010; Wu, Pilowsky, & Schlenger, 2004).
In that respect, effective prevention of inhalant abuse is very similar to the prevention of other forms of adolescent substance abuse. The principal difference is the increased importance of early intervention because of the age of first use associated with inhalant abuse.
NIDA. (2010). Inhalant Abuse. Accessed 1 November, 2010, from:
Wu, L.T., Pilowsky, D.J., and Schlenger, W.E.J. “Inhalant abuse and dependence among adolescents in the United States.” American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Vol. 43, No. 10; 2004: 1206-14.
What Are Inhalants?
Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. Although other abused substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” is used to describe.