Inhalant abuse: When common household substances become life threatening
A dangerous trend seems to exist among adolescents, involving the inhalation of common household products. Because these items are easily acquired and accessed, many youngsters mistakenly assume that inhaling them does not constitute substance abuse. But, this is a misconception that can have serious and even fatal consequences.
Inhalants are breathable, chemical vapors that can have mind altering effects. They are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), meaning that they are gases that are produced from the liquid or solid state of natural substances.
Common inhalants include permanent markers, paint and spray paint, household cleaning supplies, glue, air freshener, gasoline, cooking spray, nail polish remover, whip cream canisters and thousands of other products. Since, these substances are legal, these can be purchased at local drug stores, home stores and grocery stores, which, in turn, makes them widely accessible.
Some of the common chemicals that are found in inhalants are trichloroethylene, toluene, nitrous oxide, hexane, methylene chloride, nitrites and benzene
Who is prone to inhalants abuse?
Children and adolescents are the ones who commonly inhale these household substances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), at least 9.60 percent of individuals above 12 years of age abuse inhalants during their lifetime.
Some of the common inhalants that are used to get high are huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging. Often, a wash cloth, shirt sleeve or some sort of cloth is soaked with the inhalant, and the substance is then placed close to the face and inhaled. Sometimes paper or plastic bags are used with the inhalant.