COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 25

February 1, 2008

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Inhalant Abuse Prevention Awareness Institute

 

According to the 2005 Virginia Community Youth Survey, use of inhalants by Virginia eighth-grade students is double the national average. Inhalant use by students in grades 10 and 12 is also greater than the national average. One in seven students in Virginia has used an inhalant.

 

Inhalant use is the intentional concentration and breathing of chemical vapors or gas to produce a high. There are more than 1,000 common products that can be inhaled, including computer dusters, solvent-based markers, solvent-based correction fluid, fingernail polish remover, aerosols, gasoline and butane. Inhalants are deadly, with the potential to cause death any time they are used. Younger adolescents are more likely to inhale these products, with the number of users peaking in eighth or ninth grades. Usage can begin in elementary school. Because inhalants contain toxic chemicals, damage to the brain is one of their significant effects.

 

The Virginia Inhalant Prevention Coalition was formed in 2007 to work on ways to address this problem among our young people. As a part of its ongoing work, the coalition is sponsoring the Virginia Inhalant Prevention Awareness Institute on March 12, 2008, at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia.

 

The purpose of the Institute is to help educate adults about this important risk to the health and educational futures of our young people. Attendance is open to anyone with an interest in learning about the prevention of inhalant abuse.

 

The registration fee is $55 before February 15 and $65 after. The fee covers refreshment breaks, the luncheon, and all materials. Registration is being handled by Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Call 1-800-433-4580 or register online at rmhonline.com. Select Classes and Events from the main menu and then Event Calendar. The attached flyer provides additional information about the day's schedule and the presenters. For additional information about the institute, contact Marta Szuba with the Commonwealth Alliance for Drug Resistance Education (CADRE) of Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro at 540-942-6757 or szubame@ci.waynesboro.va.us.

 

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recently developed an updated and expanded version of its 2000 Inhalant Abuse Prevention Guide. The new guide is entitled Inhalant Abuse Prevention: Staff Education and Student Curriculum. It may be downloaded from the VDOE website: www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Instruction/Inhalantbook.pdf.

 

One of the sessions at the Institute will provide detailed information about this important new resource. Printed copies of this new guide will also be made available to the Institute participants. For additional information about the guide, contact Arlene Cundiff, coordinator of the safe and drug-free schools program at 804-225-2871 or arlene.cundiff@doe.virginia.gov.

 

BKCJr/ADC/nc

 

Attachment:

 

a. Institute Announcement Flyer (.pdf)