roots of this project began in 1993 when Massachusetts experienced
a surge in inhalant abuse among its students. Dennis McCarty, PhD,
then Chief of the Bureau of Substance Abuse at the Massachusetts
Department of Public Health, convened the Massachusetts
Inhalant Abuse Task Force to address the problem.
Task Force began by researching the problem. This included conducting
focus groups of youths and adults. The most significant discovery
was that kids were more aware of inhalant abuse than adults were.
The Task Force also scanned the prevention research literature and polled
national experts on best practices in inhalant abuse prevention.
Especially helpful was the National
Inhalant Prevention Coalition directed by Harvey Weiss. In 1994 the Massachusetts Inhalant Abuse Task Force launched a campaign, "A Breath Away," to educate parents and youth serving professionals about inhalant abuse. The
campaign included materials development, professional training,
media and mail campaigns, and technical assistance. The Task Force
continues to address inhalant abuse through a variety of activities.
successful strategies of Massachusetts in reducing the rates of
inhalant abuse among middle and high school youth in the 1990s became
the model for this grant.
got started working on this project
really several years ago. Howard Wolfe and I sat down and
talked about what was possible across the New England region,
what had been happening in MA, and how we could replicate
some of that work across the states, building on the networks
that the New England Institute of Addiction Studies has….We
got started … by talking to individual states and to
the state alcohol and drug agency prevention people to see
who was interested in tackling this issue. We really were
looking for state agencies that were willing to commit themselves
to three years of work and then to adopt with their own resources
at the end of that process some new services and some new
approaches. Because of the connections that we had with each
of the states, we had a sense of who was in a position to
capitalize on the opportunity.”
Miner, former Executive Director, New England Institute of Addiction Studies