I remember when I was about 10 years old, I tried to buy some airplane glue from a local hobby shop in Sacramento, where I grew up. “You have to have your mom or dad’s permission,” said the clerk. I couldn’t figure out what that was all about. It wasn’t like I was trying to buy cigarettes or beer. But it turns out that even back in 1964 we knew that there were some things that don’t seem like drugs that could have dangerous effects when not used as intended.
But it’s not just airplane glue. There are number of common household items that can be inhaled to achieve a certain euphoria. Some of these “inhalants” are “white out,” computer dust off spray, gasoline, certain paints, some solvents, propane, the propellant in some aerosols (e.g.whipping cream cans in the dairy section), nitrous oxide, and the list goes on. These are all substances that can produce intoxication that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to much, much longer.
You may ask, “Why would anyone want to do that kind of a thing?” Good question. Often it’s a younger child or teen or cannot afford or cannot find another harder to get drug or alcohol. It could be a homeless person who finds it cheaper and more efficient to get high off of paint or something else. It could be a college student thrill seeking just to see what happens.
You may also ask, “Is this addictive?” The answer is, “Yes.” Inhalants can become habit forming and cause people who are addicted to them to seek them out in a compulsive way, much like an alcoholic who can’t do without a drink or a heroin addict who needs that drug.
Another question might be, “What’s so dangerous about inhalants?” Inhalants are one class of intoxicants that can begin to cause brain and/or physical damage to body organs right away. In addition, think about how a person uses this type of drug. The user essentially breathes in a volatile or poisonous substance into their lungs, depriving themselves of a full dose of oxygen or maybe depriving themselves of oxygen at all. That sounds dangerous to me!
What about treatment for inhalant abuse? I don’t know of any inhalant abuse specific treatment center in Nevada but I do know that most treatment centers are equipped to handle a variety of issues and problems, which means that most inhalant abusers can access help through the treatment system in our state.
At JTNN we’d like to make you more aware of the potential dangers that can be found in some of the most mundane household items. For more info, you can go to http://www.inhalants.org/about.htm.