Mexico City Meeting Spurs Local, International Action on Inhalant Abuse

December 5, 2012

A September 2012 international meeting in Mexico City that focused on inhalant abuse featured presentations by members of the NIDA International Program Inhalant Working Group (IWG) and has already begun yielding results. El Instituto para la Atención y Prevención de las Adicciones en la Ciudad de México (IAPA) hosted the meeting, which attracted more than 200 policymakers, researchers, service providers, and industry representatives. Former NIDA INVEST Fellow and IWG member Silvia Cruz, Ph.D., Cinvestav, chaired the scientific program. NIDA Acting Deputy Director David A. Shurtleff, Ph.D., provided a video introduction to the meeting. Speakers included IAPA Director Rafael Camacho Solís, M.D.; María Elena Medina-Mora Icaza, Ph.D., Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramón de la Fuente; representatives of other Mexican addiction and research organizations; and five IWG experts:

  • Ms. Debra Dell, Canadian Youth Solvent Addiction Committee, described the culture-based structure and effectiveness of Canada’s residential inhalant abuse treatment programs.
  • Colleen Anne Dell, Ph.D., University of Saskatchewan, Canada, reviewed the global inhalants situation and the need for qualitative and quantitative data collection.
  • Robert L. Balster, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, discussed the international research agenda needs and suggested a framework for a countrywide harm reduction approach to inhalant abuse in Mexico.
  • Mr. Harvey Weiss, National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, reported on successful prevention programs, including the Texas media/community action model and U.S. Awareness Week.
  • Dr. Cruz introduced the neuroscience of inhalant abuse to the nonscientific audience.

During the IAPA meeting, the IWG experts met with Dr. Medina-Mora to discuss how the group can support the work of the developing strategy in Mexico and further the IWG work internationally. As a result of that meeting, IWG members are developing binational research proposals with Mexican scientists, and the Canadian Journal of Public Health has accepted a letter to the editor by IWG members calling for increased qualitative and quantitative research on inhalant abuse. IWG also has created an online networking group on LinkedIn to provide inhalant abuse researchers with additional opportunities for sharing research findings, best practices, and ideas for future investigations with colleagues around the world. In late October, Dr. Camacho Solís presented Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebard with the IAPA plan to address inhalant abuse, developed with input from meeting participants, recommending that the city adopt integrated, evidence-based, harm-, supply-, and demand-reduction activities in the areas of policy, research, training, treatment, prevention, and community outreach. Dr. Camacho Solís also met with representatives of an industry group to discuss recommendations controlling the importation, manufacturing, and sale of consumer and industrial products that can be abused by inhaling their vapors or gases.

Tags: Inhalants, Mexico