Relationship of early inhalant use to substance use in college students

Melanie E. Bennett, Scott T. Walters, Joseph H. Miller, W. Gill Woodall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between early inhalant use and later substance use in a sample of college students. Data were taken from four campus-wide surveys that assessed changes in rates of substance use over time at a large Southwestern university. Within these surveys, a group of students (n=187) who reported early use of inhalants (i.e., before age 18) was identified and examined in terms of their substance use behavior while in college (i.e., during the year and month prior to the survey). These students were compared to two other groups of students: those who reported early use of marijuana but no early use of inhalants (n=1271) and students who reported no early use of either inhalants or marijuana (n=1479). Results show that early use of either inhalants or marijuana substantially increased risk of frequent drinking, binge drinking, smoking, illicit drug use, and substance-related consequences during the college years. However, the early use of inhalants conferred the greatest risk and was associated with twice the rate of binge and frequent drinking and significantly greater rates of tobacco and drug use than early marijuana use alone. Implications of these findings for intervention and prevention with college students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-240
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • College students
  • Drinking patterns
  • Inhalants
  • Substance use


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