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.