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Howard publishes article on impact of inhalant abuse

Matthew O. Howard, Ph.D., Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor, has published an article examining the prevalence, consequences, prevention and treatment of inhalant abuse in the United States in a special issue of the journal Substance Use & Misuse, supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Program. View article.

The special issue of the journal was released June 18 during the NIDA International Forum and College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Annual Scientific Meeting. Howard is a member of the NIDA’s International Working Group on Inhalant Abuse.
The article identifies high rates of inhalant use among youth in the United States, particularly among adolescents who are poor, psychiatrically disordered, antisocial and otherwise socially disenfranchised.

The special journal issue, “Volatile Substance Misuse: A Global Perspective,” contains 20 peer-reviewed articles by authors from 12 nations. In response to the global demands for increased research to support the development of evidence-based policies and interventions, the NIDA International Program sponsored the publication of this collection of articles examining volatile substance misuse (VSM). VSM is often referred to as inhalant abuse because users inhale gases or vapors from common household or industrial products to induce intoxicating or hallucinogenic effects. These misused products are usually legal, inexpensive and readily available.

The articles in this special issue of Substance Use & Misuse present data from countries where VSM was previously underdocumented, as well as from countries reporting VSM among school populations; discuss medical complications of VSM and the potential for central nervous system recovery with abstinence; and describe successful interventions that address VSM based on cultural understandings.

The Canadian, U.S., and Australian guest editors contend that VSM is an underrecognized and underestimated global public health issue that has attracted relatively little research effort, and call for further research to develop evidenced-based policies to address this global public health threat.

The guest editors are Colleen Anne Dell, Ph.D., associate professor and research chair in substance abuse at the University of Saskatchewan; Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., director of the NIDA International Program; and Sarah MacLean, Ph.D., a research fellow in alcohol and drug studies at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

The NIDA International Program works with colleagues from around the world to find evidence-based solutions to the public health problems of drug abuse, addiction, and drug-related HIV/AIDS. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health, the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the U.S. Government and a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More information about the NIDA International Program.