AIMS To examine the relationship between inhalant abuse and other substances of abuse. DESIGN Survey using a structured interview administered by a single trained interviewer. SETTING A juvenile detention facility. PARTICIPANTS 209 children incarcerated at the facility over a 3-month period. SELECTION PROCEDURE Consecutive sample. INTERVENTIONS None. MEASUREMENTS/FINDINGS: The structured interview was adapted from the American Drug and Alcohol Survey, which has been extensively used to obtain substance abuse epidemiologic data. We collected information on inhalants, alcohol, marijuana, downers, pep pills, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), cocaine, designer drugs, phencyclidine (PCP), Talwin and Ritalin, speed, and narcotics. The chi-square or Fisher exact test were used when appropriate. Mean ages of initial experimentation were as follows: inhalants, 9.7 years; marijuana, 11.9 years; alcohol (inebriated), 12.0 years; cigarettes, 11.2 years; for the remaining substances of abuse, the mean age was 13.2-14.7 years. Thirty subjects had used inhalants. Significant relationships were found between inhalants and cocaine (p = .004), Talwin and Ritalin (p = .001), downers (p = .01), and narcotics (p = .003). CONCLUSIONS For children incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility in our community, inhalant abuse is associated with the later use of other substances of abuse. If this finding is replicated in other populations, it underscores the need for effective preventive strategies.
S. J. Young, S. Longstaffe, M. Tenenbein
The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse