National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week

Aerosols, glues, solvents, and spray paint—these are products that most Americans have in their basements, garages, closets, and under-sink cabinets. These store-bought items are frequently used without a second thought. However, it is important that people, especially parents, are aware that these popular products can be abused as mind-altering drugs. March 15 to 21 is National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week. It serves as a reminder each year that even some very common household items can have severe health impacts if abused. 

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are products that give off fumes and are often abused.”Huffing” inhalants has been common among kids and teenagers for decades now. It involves inhaling these types of poisonous fumes to achieve a high. This high comes on almost immediately as the inhalant goes into the lungs and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Types of inhalants include:

  • Propane. Found in hair spray, air-freshening sprays, and paint. 
  • Acetone. Found in nail polish removers.
  • Chlorinated Hydrocarbons. Found in degreasers, spot removers, and correction fluids.
  • Butane. Found in aerosol sprays, petrol, and cigarette lighter fluid. 
  • Toluene. Found in airplane glue, polish remover, and shoe polish.
  • Fluorocarbons. Found in Freon gas, spray paints, and analgesic sprays.

One study found that huffing these household products is at least as popular among middle school students as marijuana. Furthermore, about 17,868 young adults will abuse inhalants on any given day, approximately 500 of whom will be doing so for the first time. Perhaps more shocking is the fact that the average age of first-time huffers is 10 years old.

What Are Poisons?

Similar to inhalants, poisons are toxins typically found in household items. These products are not meant to be ingested in any form and doing so causes major health issues. Poisons are generally a bigger problem with children as they are unaware of the potential dangers misuse can cause. To avoid incidents, children must be educated on poisons from an early age. Household items that are also common poisons include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning supplies/wipes
  • Detergent and fabric softener
  • Batteries
  • Liquid nicotine products

Additionally, it is important that these products are located out of reach or are safely locked away. 

Dangers of Inhalants and Poisons 

A single hit of an inhalant can result in limb spasms, loss of consciousness, nausea, disorientation, and, in some cases, death. Prolonged abuse can result in hearing loss, damage to the area of the brain that controls memory, addiction, bone marrow damage, central nervous system damage, speech impediments, irregular heart rates, and death.

Thankfully, studies have shown that kids are about half as likely to experiment with inhalants if an adult has talked to them about the severe, brain-damaging consequences of huffing. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse even indicates that the problem of inhalant abuse has been on the decline since the mid-2000s, but it is still a significant issue across the nation that requires attention. 

Warning Signs of Inhalant Addiction 

There are certain signs parents and adults can watch for if they suspect a child may be huffing inhalants. These indicators include:

  • Paint stains: If you see paint stains or marks on clothing, fingers, or around the mouth, this could be a sign of huffing.
  • Fingernails: Keep an eye on fingernails. If they’re covered with magic marker ink, Wite-Out, or other types of correction fluids, this could be a sign they’ve been huffing.
  • Lighters: If you start finding butane lighters or refills among your child’s possessions, such as in their bedroom or backpack, this could be a sign of inhalant abuse.
  • Empty containers: Empty inhalant or solvent containers among the child’s possessions are generally a sign of huffing.
  • Missing items: If you notice certain items around your house going missing that could be used for the purpose of huffing, this could be a sign your child is getting into them.

Additionally, if you have started huffing inhalants and are unable to stop despite efforts, you are most likely addicted. Even if you have not tried to stop or do not think you have a problem, be aware that the abuse of these fumes will result in serious damage to your health if it has not already. There is no shame in seeking treatment and saving yourself from potentially lethal substances. 

Inhalant Addiction in Denver, CO

Inhalants and poison can cause long-lasting damage. Recovery is possible and the time to seek treatment is now. Whether it is you or a loved one struggling with an inhalant addiction, we can help. For more information about how you can notice and prevent inhalant abuse or to start your own recovery journey now, call our team at Continuum Recovery of Colorado or visit our contact form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *