Here’s a heads-up for therapists who offer substance abuse services. A new study released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that inhalant abuse has become a multi-generational problem.
It’s been assumed for years that “huffing” — inhaling chemical vapors to get high — was an issue primarily for children and adolescents. But according to the SAMHSA study, 54% of treatment admissions for this problem were among adults 18 and older.
Even more surprising: 52% were age 18-29; 32% were age 30-44; and 16% were 45 and older. The statistics were based on data collected from treatment facilities around the country.
SAMHSA now estimates that 1.1 million adults have abused inhalants over the past year. That’s more than the number of adults who used crack (988,000); LSD (637,000); heroin (571,000) and PCP (75,000).
SAMHSA details one case involving a 42-year-old mother who spent four years hooked on a chemical used to clean computers.
“I actually passed out driving one time when I was using and came to a stop in the middle of the road,” the mother said. “As much as I don’t like dealing with probation and all the money I have to pay out, getting caught probably saved my life. I know I wouldn’t have stopped. I couldn’t.”
State officials painted an increasingly bleak picture of community mental health services in a report this week, citing deep cuts in budgets that help fund treatment to an estimated 6.4 million Americans nationwide.
Forty-eight states have cut funding for mental health services since 2009 at the same time demand for services is on the increase due to the recession and home foreclosure crisis. For the complete report, click here.