CT Inhalant
Task Force


INHALANTS -  What is abused
Over 1,000 common everyday products found in homes, offices and schools.
  • Gasoline
  • Paint thinner
  • Glue
  • Correction fluid
  • Nitrous oxide   
  • Aerosol propellants in many products including whipped cream, hair spray, deodorant sprays

Who are the abusers
There is no safe level of inhalant use.  Nearly one in four 6th to 8th graders has intentionally inhaled to get high, often by the age of 11.  

What are the effects

  • Sudden Sniffing Death - 39% of deaths by inhalants are the result of first time use by inducing heart failure or suffocation
  • Short-term effects include stimulation followed by depression, headache, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and breathing difficulties
  • Chronic use produces hearing loss, brain and central nervous system damage, bone marrow damage, kidney and liver damage and blood oxygen depletion

What can be done
Education is the key.  Research shows that rates of use declined in the early 1990’s  with public education and awareness campaigns.  Without a focus on inhalants in the last 10 years, there has been a slow increase in the number of users.  Prevention efforts should focus on educating parents, teachers and adults who work with youth.  Too often Inhalant Abuse is “not on the radar” when compared to illicit drugs.  To address the threat of inhalant abuse in CT, the CT Inhalant Task Force has distributed 400 curriculum kits throughout the state to help disseminate factual and reliable information.  A statewide network of  “experts” has been developed to assist local families and communities understand the danger that inhalants pose to the health and safety of youth.

2004 Monitoring the Future Survey shows among 8th graders a lifetime use of inhalants jumped from 15.8% in 2003 to 17.3% in 2004

2000 CT SIG survey indicates that 11.1% of 7th and 8th graders, and 14.4% of 9th and 10th graders report lifetime use

2004 NECASA (northeastern CT) survey reports that 12% of 9th graders and 15% of 10th   graders report lifetime use of inhalants

DMHAS began The CT Statewide Inhalant Task Force with the Meriden and Wallingford Substance Abuse Council (MAWSAC) in the summer of 2004 as a subcommittee of the CT Coalition for the Advancement of Prevention.  Currently 35 organizations including the CT Poison Control Center, Office of the Child Advocate, Regional Action Councils, CT Clearinghouse, Governor’s Prevention Partnership and local police departments and treatment facilities are active members of the Task Force.  For more information on the CT Inhalant Task Force or to locate resources in your community, contact Marlene F. McGann at 203-294-3591 or mawsac@aol.com

Call SCCSAC at 203-303-3391 for more information or assistance.