Most inhalants are common household products. They include paint thinner, fingernail polish remover, glue, gasoline, cigarette lighter fluid, and nitrous oxide. They also include fluorinated hydrocarbons that are found in aerosols, such as whipped cream, hairspray, spray paint, and computer cleaners. Used as intended, these household products are safe. When these products are sniffed, however, their toxic fumes can produce mind-altering effects.
Inhalants are often among the first drugs that young children use. One national survey conducted in 2003-2004 found that 2.5 percent of 4th-graders had used inhalants at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Inhalants also are one of the few substances that younger children abuse more than older ones do. Yet, inhalant abuse can become chronic and extend into adulthood.
Data from national and State surveys suggest that inhalant abuse is most common among 7th- through 9th-graders. For example, in the Monitoring the Future study, an annual NIDA-supported survey of the Nation’s secondary school students, 8th-graders regularly report the highest rate of current, past-year, and lifetime inhalant abuse; 10th- and 12th-graders report less abuse of inhalants.
Many kids think inhalants are a harmless, cheap, and quick way to “catch a buzz.” The chemicals in the vapors change the way the brain works, making the user feel very good for a short time. Inhalants can be found around the house or purchased inexpensively at the local grocery or general store. What kids often don’t know is that, in some cases, the harmful effects of inhalants can be irreversible.
Clearbrook Treatment Centers have programs to address the issue of inhalant abuse and addiction. Since 1972, our rehab center in Luzerne County has been dedicated to helping people battle their addictions.