When parents think about protecting their teens from substance abuse, street drugs and alcohol usually come to mind. However, other substances can also be dangerously abused, which are as close as your kitchen or garage. Inhalants, while not the most addictive substance out there, can be as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. Even more frightening is the fact that inhalant use often starts at a much younger age, exposing children to inherent risks. Check out this information about inhalants and get the facts you need to protect your children from this potentially deadly trend.
The Attraction of Inhalants
Inhalants are common household substances that fall into three basic categories:
- Aerosols – hair and deodorant sprays, vegetable oil sprays, spray paint
- Solvents – nail polish remover, felt tip markers, paint thinners, gasoline
- Gases – whipped cream dispensers, propane tanks
Because these items are typically found in most homes, parents don’t always think of them as dangerous substances. However, they can be inhaled to give users a “high” similar to what they might experience with alcohol. The highs tend to be short-lived, prompting some users to use the substances over and over again to maintain their feelings of euphoria.
There are a number of ways inhalants might be used:
- Sniffing fumes from the containers
- Sniffing fumes after the substance is sprayed into a plastic bag
- Spraying the substances directly into the mouth
- Inhaling substances from balloons
- Stuffing a rag soaked in the substance into the mouth
Inhalants may be products you use every day at home, but when they are used in this fashion, they can be extremely dangerous. Consumption of these substances can result in seizures, unconsciousness and even death. Even first-time users are putting themselves in serious danger when they use these substances in ways not intended by the manufacturer.
Some of the chemicals in inhalants may also stay in the body for a much longer time, leading to nerve or brain damage that can cause permanent disability or injury in some users. Inhalants can also cause damage to vital organs like the liver and heart. Young people that start with inhalants are also more likely to move to other drugs over time, which could lead to addiction and other serious health issues.
Getting Help for Inhalant Abuse
While inhalants are not typically addictive, they can be very dangerous. If you suspect your child is using these substances, it is important to get help as soon as possible. To learn more about treatment for substance abuse, contact West Coast Recovery Centers at 442-333-6199.