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Facts
When inhaling, chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and then are quickly distributed to the brain and other organs in the body. The user then feels intoxicated; however, the effects are short term, lasting only a few minutes, so the user tries to prolong the sensations by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

Inhalants are often among the first substances abused by children and can continue into adulthood. Statistics show inhalant abuse is highest among 7th through 9th grade levels. However, adults do abuse inhalants and can become addicted with prolong use.
Side Effects
Short term:
abdominal pain, headaches, muscle weakness, impaired judgment, dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, slurred speech, visual disturbances, limb spasms, lack of coordination, tingling of hands and feet, numbness, mood swings, violent behavior, lethargy, apathy, stupor, unconsciousness, hallucinations may occur, or sudden death. Death may occur due to heart failure, asphyxiation, aspiration or suffocation.

Long term:
Muscle weakness, weight loss, disorientation, lack of coordination, inattentiveness, irritability, depression, Depending on the toxins being inhaled, serious damage to vital organs can occur to the lungs, liver and kidneys. Other long-term side effects can include hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system (including brain) damage.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director, Nora D. Volkow, M.D. wrote in a recent article entitled, Inhalant Abuse: Danger Under the Kitchen Sinks, "We cannot take lightly even one-time experimentation with these toxic chemicals. For some unlucky children, just a single session of repeated inhalations has caused permanent organ damage or death. Organs at risk from inhalant abuse include the lungs, brain, liver, heart, and kidneys." Dr. Volkow also advises, "Adults don't have to clear out cabinets, utility closets, and garage shelves to keep young people safe from inhalant abuse. Rather, they should be aware of the problem, learn the facts, and communicate with children in a way that guides them toward healthy life choices."

NIDA staff writer, Robert Mathias wrote the article, Chronic Solvent Abusers have more Brain Abnormalities and Cognitive Impairments than Cocaine Abusers.  Chronic inhalant abuse has long been linked to widespread brain damage and cognitive abnormalities that can range from mild impairment to severe dementia. Now a NIDA-funded study that compared brain damage and intellectual functioning among long-term inhalers of volatile solvents and cocaine abusers has found substantial brain abnormalities and cognitive impairment among both groups. However, considerably more inhalant abusers than cocaine abusers had brain abnormalities, their brain damage was more extensive, and they did significantly worse than cocaine abusers on tests of working memory and the ability to focus attention, plan, and solve problems.

How Inhalants are Abused

Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or the mouth.
⌂  sniffing or snorting fumes from containers
⌂  spraying aerosols directly into nose or mouth
⌂  sniffing or inhaling fumes sprayed into a plastic or paper bag
⌂  "huffing" from an inhalant soaked rag stuffed in the mouth
⌂  inhaling from a balloon filled with nitrous oxide
The Inhalants
The term inhalants refers to all household and commercial products that can be abused by inhaling them. They are easily accessible and affordable, thus, they can become the drug of choice for teens:
Glue, paint, typewriter correction fluid, air-conditioning refrigerant, felt-tipped markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane lighters, cooking spray, cleaning products, computer keyboard cleaners, paint thinner, nail polish and nail polish remover, degreaser, hair products, dessert topping spray, propane, helium, hairspray, deodorant. spot remover, gasoline...
Inhalant Street Names
Inhalants:
Air Blast - Bang - Bullet - Bullet bolt - Chroming - Climax - Discorama - Hardware - Heart-on - Highball - Hippie crack - Honey oil - Huff - Medusa - Moon gas - Oz - Poor man's pot - Quicksilver - Rush - Satan's secret - Spray - Texas shoe shine - Thrust - Toilet Water - Whiteout

Using inhalants:
Bagging - Glading - Huffing
Withdrawal
Heavy or chronic use of inhalants may result in tolerance and physical withdrawal symptoms can occur after just a few hours after use. They may include:
◊  Sweating
◊  Hand tremors
◊  Insomnia
◊  Rapid pulse
◊  Vomiting
◊  Anxiety
◊  Hallucinations
◊  Grand mal seizures
PREVENTION
First, you should know the facts. Get as educated on the subject as possible, then you should be able to communicate the facts clearly. Explain to your kids that inhalants are not drugs, they are deadly chemicals and poisons. Do not gloss over the facts, make them clear as the facts will prevent curiosity and the temptation to experiment.
References:
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Inhalants.drugabuse.gov

 

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