244830 A community-based approach to the prevention of inhalant abuse

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

J. Randy Koch, PhD , Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
G. Wayne Frith , Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc., Chesterfield, VA
Sharyl Adams , Department of Youth Planning and Development, Chesterfield County, Chesterfield, VA
In 2005, a school survey of students in grades 8, 10 and 12 was conducted in a large, suburban county in Virginia. Survey results revealed a significant problem with inhalant abuse, particularly in eighth grade. Past 30-day use by eighth-graders, at 8.2%, was twice the national average. In response to these results, a local community coalition funded by the Drug Free Communities Support Program, Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc.(SAFE), formed a task force to address this issue. The task force found that educators, youth-serving professionals and parents had little knowledge about inhalant abuse and that there were no programs specifically addressing inhalant abuse on any publicly available registry of evidence-based practices. Given these findings, the task force developed the SAFE Inhalant Abuse Prevention Initiative that includes five core strategies: (1) creating parent and community awareness through a media campaign; (2) training professionals; (3) educating elementary and middle school communities including school staff, parents, and students; (4) decreasing accessibility to products by creating safer physical environments at school and home; and (5) modifying school policies. Following implementation of these strategies, past 30-day use among eight-graders fell from 8.2% in 2005 to 4.6% in 2007, and to 3.0% in 2010; a 63% reduction over five years and markedly lower than the national average of 4.1%. Further study and replication are warranted to determine if this innovative community-based intervention is an effective strategy for reducing inhalant abuse.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Formulate a community-based approach for addressing adolescent substance abuse. Describe an innovative, community-based approach to prevent youth inhalant abuse.

Keywords: Community-Based Public Health, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conduct research on community-based approaches to the prevention of substance abuse.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.