How to Spot Inhalant Use…Is Your Teen Huffing?

Inhalants can be fatal the first time they are tried, and the long term and irreversible health effects of inhalant abuse are tragic. The really scary part is that the most common abusers of inhalants are our very young kids.

Parents need to be on the lookout for any of the signs of inhalant use, and if any usage is suspected, need to get immediate professional help. More than 17 million Americans have used inhalants at least once.

Inhalants, which are a class of drugs in which the user inhales the vapors of a gas, are incredibly damaging and can be very addictive; and studies report that a whole lot of young people are experimenting with these scary drugs. Inhalants tend to be most widely used by the very young, presumably due to ease of access, and when the drug of choice is located in the closet or in the garage, it’s very convenient for these young people to get a cheap and very intoxicating drug.

Some commonly abused inhalants are paint thinner, shoe shine, turpentine, hair spray, gasoline, glue, and many many others. There is both the risk of immediate cardiac arrest from the use of inhalants, and a very real and very frightening possibility of long term, severe and irreversible cerebral and physical impairments.

Inhalant abuse seems to attack the central nervous system in a way very similar to alcohol, but at an extremely exaggerated pace. It’s very important for parents to be aware of the abuse of inhalants, and also to be aware of the signs that may indicate the usage of this class of drugs.

Some of the signs of inhalant usage are:

  • Chemical odors on the body or clothes
  • Paint or other chemical stains on the face hands or clothes
  • Hidden inhalant paraphernalia (empty spray cans, rags, strong smelling plastic bags)
  • Looking drunk, confused or un coordinated
  • Frequent nausea and a loss of appetite

Because the health effects of these drugs are so severe, and because the most common abusers are our very young kids, parents need to be especially aware of the risks of inhalant abuse, and need to get professional help if they ever suspect that their kids may be abusing inhalants.

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