DefinitionPercentage of adolescents (grades 9-12) who responded 1 or more times on the [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/chronic/pages/yrbs/yrbs.aspx Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)] to the question: "During your life how many times have you sniffed glue, breathed the contents of aerosol spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high, one or more times during their life?" Responses of 0 are not considered as having a positive response for using inhalants.
NumeratorWeighted number of adolescents (grades 9-12) who responded 1 or more times on the YRBS to the question: "During your life how many times have you sniffed glue, breathed the contents of aerosol spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high, one or more times during their life?" Responses of 0 are not considered as having a positive response for using inhalants.
DenominatorWeighted number of adolescents (grades 9-12) with complete and valid responses on the YRBS to the question of ever using an inhalant during their lifetime, excluding those with missing, "Don't know/not sure" or "Refused" responses.
Data Interpretation IssuesAlaska has conducted a statewide YRBS biennially since 1995 with the exception of 1997. Weighted data were not obtained in 2001 and 2005 and, therefore, no statewide estimates are available for those years. A YRBS conducted in 1999 did not include the Anchorage School District and, therefore, was not considered a valid statewide estimate. No YRBS was conducted in Alaska in 1997.
Traditional high schools are sometimes called comprehensive high schools. They are public high schools that are distinct from alternative high schools, which serve students at risk of not graduating, charter schools, correspondence schools, and students enrolled in high school in correctional facilities.
Responses are weighted to reflect youth attending public traditional high schools in Alaska.
The question on adolescent (grades 9-12) on ever using inhalants in their lifetime has been asked on the Alaska YRBS since 1995.
Why Is This Important?The use of inhalants is often overlooked in adolescents, like other illicit drugs, inhalants can become addictive and are a major public health concern.^1^ Use of inhalants can lead to overdose and death as well as have long term effects on a person's neurological and cardiovascular system. ^2^
Inhalants often affect adolescents earlier than other types of substance abuse. Because inhalants often involve substances that can be found around the home or purchased legally -- such as gasoline, aerosols or glues, there are less barriers for use by adolescents.^2^
1. Howard MO, Bowen SE, Garland EL, Perron BE, et al. Inhalant use and inhalant use disorders in the United States. Addict Sci Clin Pract 2011;6(1):18-31.
2. Baydala L. Inhalant abuse. Paediatr Child Health 2010; 15(7):443-448. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2948777/]. Accessed November 1, 2018.
Healthy People Objective: Reduce the proportion of adolescents reporting use of alcohol or any illicit drugs during the past 30 daysU.S. Target: 12.8 percent
How Are We Doing?On the 2017 YRBS, 6.6% of Alaska adolescents (high school students in grades 9-12) reported ever using inhalants. Current cigarette smokers were more than 5 times likely to report ever using inhalants at 22.1% than non-smokers at 4.0%. Current smokeless tobacco, binge drinkers and marijuana users were also more likely to report ever using inhalants.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?For the 2017 YRBS, the reported rate of ever using inhalants among Alaska adolescents (6.6%) was similar to the national average of 6.2%. Alaska's inhalant use continues to mimic the national trend in decreasing reported use during the lifetime.
What Is Being Done?The State of Alaska Epidemiologic Profile on Substance Use, Abuse and Dependency is available at: [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dbh/Documents/Prevention/EPI2013.pdf]. This profile provides a more detailed report on the state of substance use and abuse in Alaska.
Evidence-based PracticesThere are multiple sources for research on interventions to prevent and reduce the use of illicit drugs in the adolescent population. Alaska is partnering with other states, the [https://www.cdc.gov/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] and the [https://www.samhsa.gov/ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)] to develop a series of public health strategies gleaned from the evidence base.
SAMHSA maintains a website that collects the latest in substance abuse prevention evidence based practices. The link to the information can be found here: [https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention].