Volatile substance misuse among street children in India: a preliminary report

Subst Use Misuse. 2011;46 Suppl 1:46-9. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2011.580206.


Although substance misuse among children in India has been documented for over a decade, volatile substance misuse (VSM) is a comparatively recent phenomenon there. This paper reviews available Indian studies about VSM among street children and documents the extent of misuse, experienced benefits and harms, and risk factors. Reported perceived benefits include enhanced physical strength, decreased shyness, sleep induction, feeling good, and numbing physical and psychological pain. Identified risk factors include domestic violence, a dictatorial father, presence of stepparents, migrant status, and substance use in the family. Limitations of the current paper and the need for further research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Homeless Youth*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Inhalant Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / administration & dosage*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toluene / administration & dosage*


  • Solvents
  • Toluene