Between 5 and 10 percent of eighth-graders, 10th-graders and 12th-graders have tried inhalants in their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 2016 Monitoring the Future  (MTF) survey published earlier this week.

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), revealed that more than 1.7 million people aged 12 and older used inhalants in the past year.

Inhalants have been around since the 1700s but gained popularity in the mid-1800s after it became apparent that nitrous oxide had euphoric effects. “Back in those days it was a substance used at elite parties,” said Anthony Campbell, medical officer of the Division of Pharmacologic Therapy for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Today’s inhalants are ubiquitous, accessible and are found throughout the house as everyday items like cans of hairspray and solvents. “They’re legal and cheap,” Campbell said. “Those are the main reasons why adolescents find them appealing.”

The inhalant of choice varies by age, according to a 2012 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Those between the ages of 12 and 15 favor glue, shoe polish, spray paints, gasoline and lighter fluid. Teens aged…(continue reading)