Challenges to Neuroscience and Public Policy Derived from New Trends and Patterns of Inhalant Misuse

Author(s): Maria Elena Medina-Mora, Jorge A Villatoro, Clara Fleiz, Mario Dominguez, and Silvia L Cruz


Use of inhalants (solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites) is a worldwide practice, mainly among children and adolescents in whom toxic effects are more detrimental than in adults. Inhalant misuse is increasing among young adults linked to new and more attractive presentations; it is more common among those coming from poor communities with high violence and delinquency levels, and also among street children and adolescents. Voluntary inhalant misuse is more frequent among males, but the gender gap is narrowing. The risk of developing dependence is well established, especially if inhalant misuse begins at an early age. Suicidality and comorbidity with psychiatric disorders are also common. Regular users are more likely to show deviant behavior, school truancy, and lower school grades. Family history of antisocial behavior has also been reported. Abuse of nitrites is associated with a higher risk of HIV. In general, abuse of inhalants increases the risk of morbidity and mortality. In spite of this evidence, these substances have received less attention than other misused drugs. This review shows results from epidemiology, psychosocial, and treatment research to draw attention to gaps of knowledge that require the involvement of neurosciences and clinical research and to propose policy options.


image 10.4303/jdar/235842

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