Josephine Darwin, Director of Community Outreach for Tennessee Poison Center, recently attended a statewide meeting of health professionals, law enforcement officials and community volunteers to discuss the widespread abuse of inhalants among Tennessee youth.


Tennessee ranks 7th in the United States for inhalant abuse, according to CDC data.

Inhalant abuse is often called the “silent epidemic” because ordinary household products, which can be safely used for legitimate purposes, can be problematic in the hands of an inhalant abuser. By the eighth grade, one in five young people has used an inhalant to get high, at the risk of brain damage and death.


Inhalants = poisons; therefore, Tennessee Poison Center is collaborating with the National Inhalant Abuse Prevention Coalition to increase awareness of this health hazard. TPC has developed a brochure, Inhalants and Poisons, which will be distributed to middle school students throughout Tennessee. And National Inhalant Awareness Week occurs the same week as National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, 2005. There will be increased attention in the media regarding poisons and inhalants during this week.


If you would like more information, visit or our website Also, the Inhalants and Poisons brochure is available free of charge for your patients (nominal shipping fee). Please call our administrative office to place an order – (615) 936-0760.


Thank you to Josephine Darwin, Tennessee Poison Center Educational Outreach Director, for the information in today's Question of the Week.


As always, if there are any questions, call the TN Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.


I am interested in any questions that you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestions at


Donna Seger, M.D.

Medical Director, Tennessee Poison Center