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Melissa Heinen, New Hampshire Educator with the Northern New England Poison Center, emphasizes the need for more research on inhalant prevention.


“The Massachusetts Inhalant Abuse Task Force has identified some science-based curricula that have an impact on inhalant abuse. There are two that have shown impacts. One is AllStars. The second is Life Skills Training. Project Alert includes a piece on inhalants and has yet to look at the evaluation of that, but that has a lot of potential as well.”

Kathleen Herr-Zaya, Public Information Coordinator, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, MA Department of Public Health



Key Activities | Challenges | What We Learned

Supporting Regional Efforts: Challenges

We faced a number of challenges in working to meet the needs of all six states.

Differing levels of needs and expertise
This is a limited time grant, making it a challenge to pull in states that were not ready to address the inhalant problem when we were. As a result, we’ve had states getting involved at different times along the course of this short grant, leaving us with states at different stages of commitment and readiness to benefit from our project. A further challenge for us then became how to develop trainings that satisfy the needs of everyone.

Fostering innovation while maintaining standards
As Coalition staff, we need to let our state partners produce their own materials and presentations, tailored to their own needs, yet still guide them to use appropriate messages and best practices. The adage, “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing,” applies here. Our challenge is to adequately train those people who use our information to teach others, so that they do not spread inappropriate messages and materials.

Lack of research
Beyond our experts’ consensus and best practices, we need research in this field that confirms which approaches work and which don’t. We need research to develop evidence-based messages and strategies. We need evaluated curricula with units on inhalants that impact the choices children make.

There are well-intentioned materials (videos, news articles, pamphlets) available to the public that give inappropriate or even dangerous messages for the audience they are targeting. It is a continual challenge to steer people away from these misguided materials.



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