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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

In last week’s first part of the series on Inhalant Abuse, I focused on inhalant abuse effects and awareness. In the second part of this series, I will focus primarily on inhalant abuse prevention and how to treat someone who is suffering with an addiction to inhalants. While people of all ages can abuse inhalants, the group most at risk is people under the age of 21. Inhalants are often easily accessible to younger people, very cheap, and can be bought without an I.D. All of these factors converge to create a drug that appeals to many aspects of the younger crowd. Learn how to prevent inhalant abuse, and what steps to take if someone you know or love has started abusing inhalants.

Inhalant Abuse Prevention

Like with other drugs, education and information about inhalant abuse are some of the most influential means of prevention. As discussed previously, inhalant abuse may not be one of the most popular forms of drug abuse, but it certainly is one of the more dangerous and fatal abuses.  Many people who decide to try inhalants are unaware of the dangers and potential for addiction. Perhaps they think of the whole experience as harmless, just a little experiment because someone at school told them it was fun. The truth is, if they were aware of the dangerous and fatal nature of inhalant abuse, they would not try and abuse them. Of course there are people who know the dangers of inhalants and still proceed to abuse them. However, I would predict that most first time inhalant abusers have no understanding of the dangers of abusing inhalants. Thus the first step in preventing inhalant abuse is to educate children and young adults to the dangers of inhalant abuse. Almost every child grows up being told that drugs like cocaine and heroin are dangerous and evil, but do they have any idea about the dangers of inhalants? Of course informing children and teenagers about the dangers of abusing inhalants won’t stop inhalant abuse, but it could prevent many lives from suffering the same fate as the 400 people that died last year from inhalants.

The other way to prevent inhalant abuse is parental awareness and limiting access to inhalants. Over 40 percent of first time inhalant users report abusing inhalants that were already in their home. This means they used inhalants, household products already in the home, to get high. Parents have no idea the products they purchase and leave around are abusable inhalants. This is why it is important for parents to be aware of abusable inhalants and keep them out of reach or find non-abusable substitutes. When family and friends are more educated about inhalant abuse, they can prevent it from happening and also recognize it if someone they know starts abusing inhalants.

 

Inhalant Abuse Treatment

Treating the inhalant abuser or addict presents unique challenges. People abusing inhalants may not have experienced the financial, legal, or physical problems common with drug addiction or alcoholism. Inhalants also lack the physical addicting properties that drugs such as opiates, cocaine, and alcohol possess. With this being said, the low cost and powerful high of inhalants can create a mental addiction and craving in abusers. The biggest reason an inhalant abuser requires immediate help or treatment is the risky and fatal nature of inhalants.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

In addiction treatment, inhalant abuse and addiction is largely overlooked in lieu of the more prevalent drugs such as alcohol, opiates, meth, etc. While inhalant abuse may not be as common as some other substances, the effects and devastation brought on by inhalant abuse can be equal, if not more severe than other drugs. In Orlando the death of a prominent attorney  due to inhalant abuse has compelled me to write about the dark world of inhalant abuse. With inhalant abuse, as with all substance abuses, awareness is the greatest tool in preventing abuse and getting people help. In this post, I will explain exactly what is inhalant abuse as well as the signs and symptoms of someone abusing inhalants.

What is Inhalant Abuse?

Inhalant abuse, in street slang, is usually called ‘huffing’ or ‘sniffing’. National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as “the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.” The most commonly abused inhalants are all legal household products; such as computer duster, paint thinners, aerosol cleaners, butane liquid, and gasoline. Other inhalants can be purchased at smoke shops or head shops and include whipped cream aerosols, ‘whippets’, and nitrites, or the slang term ‘poppers’. Different forms of inhalants contain various chemicals and solvents that produce the high people experience when abusing them. The action brought about by these chemicals are all very similar, they deprive the brain of oxygen and blood flow. When the brain experiences a lack of blood or oxygen, similar to the feeling of being light headed, the person experiences a feeling of dissociation that can result in dizziness, unconsciousness, and even death.  Aerosols and dusters also have the danger of freezing the users lungs, instantly causing death. The pressurized air could drop below freezing temperatures and damage or actually freeze the lungs. Almost a 1/3rdof deaths from inhalants happen during the users first experience, but could happen to even seasoned inhalant abusers. When the brain undergoes a sudden lack of oxygen, the person experiences a sense of euphoria. What the inhalant abuser does not realize is the euphoria is a result of a near death experience, the brain being deprived of oxygen is releasing neurotransmitters in response. This high is fast-acting and addictive. The cost and accessibility of inhalants make it an attractive drug for young adults and even children.  The NIPC reported over 300 inhalant related deaths alone in 2014.

Signs & Symptoms of Abuse

The signs of someone who is abusing inhalants is almost as wide-ranging as the types of inhalants available. Here is a simple list of common signs…

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