Wednesday, April 29, 2009

radKIDS On...Inhalant Abuse

Inhalant Abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of fumes, vapors, or gases from common household products for the purpose of getting high. Also known as Huffing, Sniffing, Bagging, Chroming or Dusting, Inhalant Abuse is a dangerously overlooked form of substance abuse. According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five kids in the U.S. will abuse inhalants by the eighth grade - the time that preteen experimentation with inhalants peaks. Children can die the very first time they intentionally inhale a product and it can also cause brain, liver or kidney damage or lead to the use of illegal drugs or alcohol.

While young people may have a hard time getting illegal drugs or alcohol, inhalants may be easier to attain. In addition to being easily accessible, they are cheap and often off the radar for most adults.

Products include: correction fluid, rubber cement, computer keyboard cleaners, gasoline, propane, nitrous oxide, butane, glue, marking pens, spray paint, hair spray, air fresheners, whipped cream, and cooking sprays.

Parents can keep their children safe and healthy by educating them about the dangers of Inhalant Abuse. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, research shows that kids who learn about the risk of substance abuse from their parents or caregivers are 50% less likely to use inhalants.

Tips for talking to your child: (5-12 years old)
~Discuss what fumes are and what effects they may have on a healthy body.
~Play a game, "Is it safe to smell or touch?"
~Read product lables together, discuss directions and answer questions honestly.
~Suggest opening windows or using fans when products call for proper ventilation.
~Monitor your child's activities and friends.
~Look for "teachable moments."

Some indicators of Inhalant Abuse to watch for are: changes in friends or interests, decline in school performance, disorientation, dazed appearance, slurred speech, coordination difficulties, chemical odor on clothes and breath, red spots or sores around nose/mouth, Paint or stains on face and hands, loss of appetite, lethargy, increase and intensity of headaches, excitability and irritability, empty lighters, spray cans, plastic bags, balloons or rags with chemical odors, empty pressurized whipped cream containers.

If you find someone unconscious or if you suspect a child is under the influence of an inhalant call 911 immediately. Keep him/her calm and in a well ventilated area to reduce cardiac stress. Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or the 1-800 number on the label of the product and ask for specific advice related to the product used.
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