Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that are used to receive a rapid high with similar effects to alcohol intoxication. The psychoactive properties involved with the usage have made it an attractive drug for teenagers and young adults. Inhalants are one of the only classes of substances that are abused more by younger than older teens; with 2.1 million Americans over 12 admitting to usage in 2009.There are more than a thousand household products that can be used as an inhalant by teenagers. This is a dangerous drug within the teen community due to its availability and risky side effects.
Short Term Effects of Inhalants
Inhalants can be ingested a multitude of ways; this includes being sprayed directly into the nose, inhaled through a bag (“bagging”), or placed onto a piece of fabric (“huffing”). As with the majority of drugs, teenagers only take into account the short term effects that the substance will provide them.
The most common short terms effects of inhalants are:
• Slurred speech
• Dazed appearance
• Loss of coordination
• Hallucinations and delusions
• Impaired judgment
• “Sudden Sniffing Death”
Long Term Effects of Inhalants
Aside from being addictive, inhalants present dangerous long term side effects to the user. These effects can be amplified when an individual is using throughout their developmental years.
• Short term memory loss
• Possible fetal effects similar to fetal alcohol syndrome
• Permanent brain damage
• Hearing loss
• Limb spasms
• Bone marrow damage
• Liver and kidney damage
Types of Inhalants
Household products used for “bagging” or that are sprayed directly into the mouth or nose, include aerosols such as spray paint, hair spray, and computer cleaner. Gas based products also provide teenagers with an opportunity to get high; the most common being whipped cream (whippets). Solvent liquids that teenagers place onto rags to breathe in are paint thinners, degreasers, and dry cleaning fluid.
These are just a few examples of how an everyday product can turn into a deadly addiction for your teenager. It’s key to provide you’re teenager with information about the dangers associated with inhalant usage. This can potentially avoid serious health risks and further addictions down the road.