Sue Scheff – Parent Advocate: KYDS Survey on Inhalant Use

A recent news story used the statistics found in the 2006 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey from the KYDS Coalition, sponsored by the Broome County Mental Health Department in Binghamton, New York.

The entire survey can be read in the link above, but it is rather long; here are some relevant data points:

Percentages of Students using Inhalants (lifetime):

7th grade

2002: 8.7%
2004: 8.1%
2006: 10.8%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

8th grade

2002: 11.0%
2004: 8.9%
2006: 15.2%
Monitoring the Future survey: 17.1%

9th grade

2002: 10.3%
2004: 10.7%
2006: 13.5%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

10th grade

2002: 7.6%
2004: 10.2%
2006: 14.6%
Monitoring the Future survey: 13.1%

11th grade

2002: 7.9%
2004: 11.6%
2006: 13.0%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

12th grade

2002: 8.4%
2004: 7.6%
2006: 10.5%
Monitoring the Future survey: 11.4%


2002: 9.0%
2004: 9.6%
2006: 13.0%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

What are the highlights of this data? Well, there is an increase in every single grade for inhalant usage from 2004 data to 2006. Total inhalant usage jumped from 9.0% to 13.0% in four years.

A lot of people wonder why lifetime inhalant use reporting is higher in eighth grade than it is in other years. If someone reported using inhalants when they were 13, shouldn’t they have reported a lifetime inhalant use when they are 18?

I can think of two reasons for why this may happen. First, as students get older, they might minimize the importance of inhalant usage during middle school and not report it as often, or simply forget about it after a few years.

Secondly, many of these surveys are done during school hours. If you have students abusing inhalants in eighth grade, these same students might not have stayed in school all the way until senior year. They may have moved on to other drugs and abandoned their schoolwork. Studies would have to take into account the dropout rate as well.

It will be interesting to see the results of a 2008 study.