When we think of drug abuse, we commonly think of prescription drugs, marijuana, street-drugs, such as crack-cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, etc. But sometimes drug abuse can be right under our noses. Not only kids, but also adults heavily abuse several household products as well. These products are easily accessible for kids to use and also for the recovering addict who cannot obtain their drug of choice, household products such as, model airplane glue, nail polish remover, cleaning fluids, hair spray, gasoline, the propellant in aerosol whipped cream, spray paint, fabric protector, air conditioner fluid (freon), cooking spray and correction fluid can induce the high they are craving for. These inhalants are a rising problem among American households. In 2008, 2 million Americans age 12 and older had abused inhalants. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Web Site). The NIDA-funded 2008 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 8.9% of 8th graders, 5.9% of 10th graders, and 3.8% of 12th graders had abused inhalants at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan Web Site).
Inhalants are used in various ways; these products are sniffed, snorted, bagged (fumes inhaled from a plastic bag), or “huffed” (inhalant-soaked rag, sock, or roll of toilet paper in the mouth) to achieve a high. Inhalants are also sniffed directly from the container. Street names commonly used are whippets, poppers, and snappers. Although one may think the effects may not be as serious as other drugs, they indeed are. Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts are inhaled, nearly all solvents and gases produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness. Irreversible effects can be hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage, or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). The user can also suffer from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. This means the user can die the 1st, 10th or 100th time he or she uses an inhalant. The scariest part about this addiction is its accessibility. All these products are easily found at local stores and commonly kept within households.
Treatment facilities for inhalant users are rare and difficult to find. Users suffer a high rate of relapse, and require thirty to forty days or more of detoxification. Users suffer withdrawal symptoms that can include hallucinations, nausea, excessive sweating, hand tremors, muscle cramps, headaches, chills and delirium tremens. Follow-up treatment is very important.