Inhalants-particularly volatile solvents, gases, and aerosols- are often among the first drugs that young children use. Inhalants also are one of the few substances abused more by younger children than by older ones. Nevertheless, inhalant abuse can become chronic and extend into adulthood.
Generally, inhalant abusers will abuse any available substance. In certain parts of the country, "Texas shoe-shine," a shoe-shining spray containing the chemical toluene, is a local favorite. Silver and gold spray paints, which contain more toluene than other spray colors, also are popular inhalants.
Data from national and state surveys suggest inhalant abuse reaches its peak at some point during the seventh through ninth grades. For example, the American Drug and Alcohol Survey of children in the 4th through 12th grades indicates that the percentage of children who have ever used inhalants peaks in the 8th grade.
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