FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado State University's Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research was recently awarded a $1.9-million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to research and develop strategies to prevent inhalant drug use among children in rural ethnic-minority and non-ethnic communities.
"This project will help us understand why children begin using inhalants and also identify cultural, community and parenting factors that may protect youth in certain ethnic communities from using inhalants less frequently than children of other ethnic groups," said Ruth Edwards, director of the Tri-Ethnic Center. "We are hopeful that results from this research will help in reducing the amount of inhalant abuse among children in communities throughout Colorado, the nation and even worldwide."
Known as huffing or sniffing, the act of getting high by inhaling the fumes of household products is estimated to claim the lives of more than one thousand children each year.
The Tri-Ethnic Center study will examine inhalant use among children in grades four through eight in rural communities across the U.S., as well as gather information on how family, peer, school, neighborhood and cultural factors influence inhalant use. The study's goal is to develop prevention strategies and culturally appropriate prevention plans for each ethnic group to best address and overcome the inhalant problem. At the study's conclusion, a variety of resources, recommendations and strategies will be made available for rural communities across the country.
The five-year, multi-phase study will focus around the center's Community Readiness Model. The renowned intervention model, developed by faculty at the Tri-Ethnic Center, has helped hundreds of communities and thousands of people facilitate community-based change and reduce social problems. The model provides tested and proven methods for assessment, diagnosis and change, and is based on the premise that community efforts must match the community's level of readiness to deal with a problem in order to be effective in creating positive change.
A key component of the study is to focus on five different ethnicities to determine what factors lead youth in certain ethnic groups to abuse inhalants more than children from other cultural backgrounds. African-Americans and Asian-Americans are among groups with the lower inhalant use, while American Indians, Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans are among groups more prone to use inhalants.
"Very little research has been done to explain these cultural and community differences," said Edwards. "Identifying protective factors for inhalant abuse as well as risk factors should yield important insights for current and future preventative efforts."
More information about the Tri-Ethnic Center can be found on the Web at www.colostate.edu/Dept/TEC.