The research aimed to identify ‘(1) current volatile solvent use practices, (2) health beliefs and perceived effects of volatile solvent use, (3) social dynamics of volatile solvent use, (4) significance of reputation, and (5) barriers to volatile solvent use intervention’ in a sample of Irish adolescents (Carroll et al, 1998, p1; Anderson & Loomis, 2003). Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 20 adolescents who reported inhaling volatile solvents, during the course of doctoral research (n=1,400) investigating substance misuse among adolescents aged 12 to 18 years in Ireland. Their average age was 13.2 years, and they used a range of substances. Solvent users were found to be most commonly congregated in small peer and sibling groups and one young male also reported using alone. These young people indicated their average age of initiation of inhalant use as 10.3 years and most did not use inhalants after the age of 13 years. This coincided with first‐time alcohol use, at an average age of 12.5 years and experimental use of cannabis in some. All reported some awareness of short‐term medical risks involved in solvent use, and most commented on negative effects, such as headaches, dizziness and vomiting. Teachers, probation and juvenile liaison officers, health promotion and drug education workers, youth workers, social workers, and parents should ‘familiarise themselves with the real world experiences of adolescent volatile solvent users’; in order to develop appropriate and timely drug education interventions (Carroll et al, 1998 p6).
Drugs and Alcohol Today – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 2008
Keywords: Inhalants; Adolescents; Service provision; Ireland