May Is Inhalant Awareness Month In Michigan

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 19, 2005

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) announces the observance of May as Inhalant Awareness Month to educate people about the problem of inhalant abuse and the impact it can have on individuals and communities.

“A large part of a prevention awareness campaign such as this, is making sure that people - especially parents - get the facts,” said Yvonne Blackmond, Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy. “Be vigilant. If inhalant containers are discovered in places where they are not normally stored, this should be a trigger for concern. Unfortunately, death from inhalant use can be instantaneous and can occur during a first time use.”

Inhalant abuse is the deliberate inhaling or sniffing of substances to become intoxicated. The chronic use of inhalants has been associated with a number of serious health problems and sometimes death. The substances used when abusing inhalants are typically found in common household products such as glues, lighter fluid, cleaning fluids, and paint products.

Easy accessibility, low cost, ease of transport, and concealment make inhalants one of the first substances abused by children. According to survey data from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, 15 to 20 percent of junior and senior high school students have used inhalants at least once. The highest incidence of use is seen among 10 to 12 year old children, with rates of use declining with age.

Parents have an important responsibility in discussing with their children the risks of inhaling chemicals, Blackmond said. It is crucial for parents to know what the products are, how they might be harmful, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of their use as inhalants to help prevent abuse.

For more information on inhalants or Inhalant Awareness Month activities, visit the MDCH website at www.michigan.gov/mdch or the Michigan Resource Center at www.michiganresourcecenter.org.