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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 79

INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO:  79

POLICY CODE:        IHAMA

 

TO:              All Superintendents of Schools, Public and Private Secondary and Elementary School Principals, Safe and Drug Free Schools Contact Persons

FROM:         Susan Gendron, Commissioner, Department of Education
Kimberly Johnson, Director, Office of Substance Abuse, Department of Health and Human Services

DATE:          February 27, 2007

SUBJECT:    Inhalant Abuse Prevention

In support of National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness week, the Maine Inhalant Abuse Prevention Work Group has arranged for a training for professionals “Inhalant Abuse: It’s Right Under Your Nose.”  The goal of this training is to acquaint participants with the nature and patterns of inhalant abuse and provide them with effective prevention and assessment strategies, tools, messages and resources.  This training is available on two dates/locations: March 20, 2007 at the Black Bear Inn, Orono, ME and repeated onMarch 22, 2007 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn, ME.  To register online or for more information, click on the link:  www.neias.org/SATAdcal.html or contact AdCare at 207-626-3615 or adcare@neias.org.

Inhalant abuse is an often-overlooked form of substance abuse, which can have serious consequences.  Children can die from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome the very first time they intentionally inhale a product to get high.  Abusing inhalants can kill and can cause brain, liver, and kidney damage or may lead to the use of illegal drugs or alcohol.  While young people may have more difficulty getting illegal drugs or alcohol, there are more than 1,400 common items that can be huffed, including many that can be easily accessed in the kitchen, garage, office and at school.

The challenge before us is to address the use of inhaled substances by students.  According to the 2006 Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey, 12% of Maine’s 6th – 12th grade students reported that they have abused inhalants in their lifetime, with 8th graders reporting the highest rate of use within the last 30 days (7%).  Maine has made significant strides in decreasing tobacco use among students and has begun to see progress in student alcohol use.  With collaboration among community members, the tragic and unnecessary death and disability caused by inhalant abuse can also be reduced.

For resources or more information about inhalant abuse prevention, contact the Office of Substance Abuse Information & Resource Center, 1-800-499-0027 or Email: osa.ircosa@maine.gov.