Ugh! My firstborn is nearing 12 and this study sure got my attention! A new federal study shows that inhalants are the most abused drug among 12-year-olds– exceeding use of marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens combined.
Almost 7% of 12-year olds said they had used an inhalant to get high. Inhalant-use is largely a phenomenon among whites, but large numbers of Hispanic and African Americans also abuse the chemicals according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Inhalants use often precedes a move to other drugs or is used
to enhance the high from other drugs or alcohol. Inhalants are easy to obtain and can be abused without detection.
Where do you find inhalants? In your house! Frequently used compounds are found in
- household cleaners,
- paint thinner,
- magic markers,
- nail polish remover,
- dessert topping sprays, and
- fabric protector.
The inhalant of choice usually is in a pressurized can like the one to force dust out of computer keyboards.
The chemicals can lead to short-term memory loss, problems
with walking and speech, emotional instability and over time can cause
permanent brain and heart problems.
Most teens are in-the-moment-thinkers and need to know about
the issues that are important to them: how to resist peer pressure of inhalants
and risk of “sudden sniffing death” (in which the inhaler dies from cardiac arrest
instantly.) They may be less interested in the long-term problems, but we parents sure are.