Become aware of the problem. Educate yourself and other adults about how to prevent inhalant abuse, what types of products can be abused, and the signs of abuse.

Make sure your children are getting the message about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse as well as inhalant abuse. The main prevention message is that INHALANTS ARE POISONS AND ARE DANGEROUS LIKE OTHER POISONS. In your children's school, inhalant abuse prevention activities should be included in classes along with alcohol and other drug prevention activities. Another approach is Peer Education Programs, where youth teach other youth health information and behaviors.

Don't buy products that can be easily abused. These include solvents, solvent-based products, fuels, gases, and aerosols. Instead look for water-based versions of these products, if available.

Be aware of how much of an item is being used. When solvent-based products are used, they should be used under adult supervision. If it seems like too much is being used, ask questions and look into the situation.

If you are suspicious about your children's behavior, be sure to talk to them. Ask them about inhalants and be specific about why you are worried. Don't dismiss your feelings that something is not right. REMEMBER, ONE OF THE ATTRACTIONS OF INHALANTS IS THAT ADULTS DON'T OFTEN ASK YOUTH ABOUT THEM. If you have questions about whether a substance is dangerous, call the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention Serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island at (800) 222-1112.

Don't tolerate any use. Remember, any use can be fatal. Seek an alcohol and other drug assessment and take appropriate action. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, your action sends a clear message about what you expect.

For more information: Visit the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse ( for free resources, or 1-800-327-5050 (TTY 1-888-448-8321) for questions or referrals, or the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention Serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island (1-800-222-1222; TTY: 1-888-244-5313).


This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.