updated 3/16/2009 1:32:06 PM ET 2009-03-16T17:32:06

A new study of teen inhalant abuse suggests a need for more prevention and treatment efforts.

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The government numbers do show that fewer teens are sniffing glue, lighter fluid, shoe polish and other easy-to-find substances. But it finds the number of teens who actually abuse inhalants — as opposed to just giving them a try — has remained stable over a five-year period.

An official with the Office of National Drug Control Policy says "most parents don't realize how dangerous inhalants can be." He says they're among the most popular and deadly substances that kids abuse.

The study finds that nearly 1 million youths aged 12 to 17 used some kind of inhalant in 2007. That's about 3.9 percent of adolescents, compared with 4.4 percent the previous year.

The study found that the rate of "initiation," or teens trying inhalants for the first time, was also slightly lower in 2007 — about 2.1 percent of teens.

There wasn't much change in the types of inhalants teens used. They include gasoline, lighter fluid, correction and cleaning fluids, and so-called "poppers," or nitrate inhalants.

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