Volatile Substance Misuse: Toward a Research Agenda

School of Social Work, University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill, NC , USA.
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Impact Factor: 1.78). 10/2012; 39(1). DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2012.726303
Source: PubMed


Volatile substance misuse (VSM) is a significant but under-researched global health problem.

This perspective calls for additional VSM research in key areas including the phenomenology and adverse health and social consequences of acute inhalant intoxication and for prospective longitudinal studies of the natural history of VSM and related deleterious long-term biomedical and psychosocial outcomes. Taxonomic investigations are needed to identify subtypes of volatile substance misusers (VSMs), whereas qualitative and mixed methods evaluations would provide important information about cultural and interpersonal contexts and specific patterns, modalities and agents of VSM. Treatment outcome and health services studies have rarely been conducted with reference to VSMs and are needed. Studies of specific inhalants and high-risk populations for VSM would also contribute to current knowledge regarding VSM and help reduce the toll taken by this prevalent form of drug misuse.

The authors draw on VSM studies that they and other researchers have conducted to exemplify the types of research needed in each of the domains identified above.

Results and conclusions:
Despite the global ubiquity of VSM, much remains to be learned about this form of substance use. This perspective identifies key elements of a systematic program for research in this area.

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