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Alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing

Inhalants are chemical vapors or gases that produce psychoactive mind-altering effects when abused or misused by concentrating and intentionally inhaling these fumes. These include volatile organic solvents, fuel gases, nitrites, and anesthetic gases.

Inhalants are volatile organic chemicals. Volatility is a measure of the tendency to vaporize or leave the liquid state. The most common inhalant chemical groups are the aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, which are widely distributed in nature, primarily in natural gas and petroleum.

Another group of inhalants is comprised of hydrocarbons with attached halogen ions. Examples are trichloroethylene and the freons. Alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing group of inhalants is anesthetic gases such as ether, nitrous oxide, chloroform and halothane.

Once commonly referred to as "glue sniffing," inhalant abuse now includes a broad range of volatile solvents and gas products e.

Other powdered drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, can be inhaled but are not considered inhalants.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Although the chemicals involved and their effects vary, the route of alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing is the common factor What Types of Products Can Be Abused?

Inhalants are abused either by "sniffing" though the nose or inhaling fumes through the open mouth "huffing" much like a smoker inhales cigarette smoke. Usually the open tube of glue, nail polish, or marker is placed close to the nose and the fumes are inhaled.

People who abuse inhalants may also spray the substance into a plastic or paper bag and huff that way "bagging" or even place the bag over their entire head. Often a product will be poured or sprayed on a piece of cloth, a rag, a towel, or a shirt sleeve or into a soda can and inhaled in that manner.

Another method is to paint the fingernails with a product like correction fluid and inhale the substance on the nails. Sometimes an aerosol substance is sprayed directly into the mouth. Substances can also be placed into alternative containers e. Contrary to popular perception, people who alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing inhalants are found in many segments of the population and no one group can be categorized as "inhalant abusers.

People who abuse inhalants are seen in emergency rooms. This is an increase from mentions in — a Some studies indicate that inhalant abuse precedes tobacco or alcohol use. Although most teenagers outgrow alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing use, many may progress to "harder" drugs in their teens or even use them concurrently with inhalants. Some inhalant abusers continue use into adulthood. Unique risk groups for adults include nurses, dentists, anesthesiologists, air conditioning repairers, shoemakers, hair stylists, painters, and dry-cleaning workers, because of access to these chemicals or anesthetics in the workplace.

Adults seek both the "high" offered by these agents, plus the reportedly aphrodisiac effects. Nitrite inhalant use is prevalent among homosexual males, but use has decreased with the AIDS epidemic. Internationally, inhalant abuse is rampant among "street" children in many urban centers, in both developed and developing countries, and represents a global health issue.

These drugs have no social or geographic boundaries, but young children who abuse inhalants tend to be of lower socioeconomic class, poor school performers with high rates of absenteeism or suspension, and from broken families.

Alcohol and Drug Use in Young People

Users typically have low self-esteem and emotional problems anxiety, depression, and anger. Though Caucasian children and adults are the predominant abusers of inhalants, other racial groups at increased risk include Hispanics and Native Americans. Most chronic inhalant abuse is associated with poverty and deprivation rather than race. Inhaling is frequently a group activity, occurring at school or at parties. In the past inhalant abuse tended to be more prevalent in males.

However, over the past decade, abuse has increased in young females, and prevalence is nearly equal today in the youth population. Additionally, according to the NSDUH, girls begin inhalant use far earlier than boys alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing a mean age of first use at Among adults, inhalant abuse is more a male activity. The typical abusers of inhalants are toyear-olds, though use in children as young as 7 and 8 years has been reported. Some studies indicate that the average age of initial use of these chemicals is about Experimentation typically occurs in late childhood and is short lived.

Chronic abuse is usually seen in older adolescents, though it has also been reported in individuals as old as 50 or Why are inhalants popular?

Most inhalants are readily available, inexpensive or free, and usually legal to purchase and possess. The high is achieved within seconds and the effect dissipates within a half of an hour. Because products are easy to conceal and are useful everyday products e. And, because abusable products are so common, many youth do not perceive them as harmful and do not understand the consequences of using them.

What do inhalants do? Inhalants provide an instant "rush" and, like alcohol, cause euphoria followed by central nervous system depression. Inhalants can cause loss of motor skills, slurred speech, heart palpitations, seizures, nausea and vomiting.

However, these findings are very uncommon even in chronic inhalant abusers. More common ones are paint or stains on the body or clothing; chemical breath odor; drunk, dazed, or dizzy appearance; an unexplained collection of abusable products; anxiety, excitability, and irritability. The debilitating and potentially lethal effects of inhalants can occur even with first use. Sudden sniffing death syndrome is usually caused by the irregular heart rate induced by inhalants; other alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing effects are hypertension, tachycardia, and bradycardia.

Other significant effects include command seizures.

Facts About Alcohol and Drug Use in Young People

Brain damage can be a consequence of chronic use. Additional inhalant dangers are suffocation e. What are the long-term effects of inhalant abuse? Solvents are easily absorbed from the blood into lipid-rich tissues.

Alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing

Chronic inhalant abuse can damage the brain, the heart, lungs, kidney, liver, and peripheral nerves. To get involved in helping with people living with these long term effects, a respiratory therapist school can get you on the fast track.

Continued, chronic inhalant abuse has been associated with neurological damage. People who abuse inhalants chronically have demonstrated a range of mental dysfunction, alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing mild cognitive impairment e. In some instances these effects are permanent while in others they resolve after a long period of abstinence. Personality disorders, particularly antisocial personality, violent behavior, and depression, have been associated with inhalant abuse.

Inhalants are highly lipid soluble. They easily cross both alveolar membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Exposure via the pulmonary route avoids first-pass hepatic metabolism.

Onset of effect is seen alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing seconds. Volatiles accumulate in the brain as well as other fatty tissues in the body.

The mechanism of their effects is not entirely clear; some authors suggest that the mechanism is "fluidization" or change in solubility of neuronal cell membranes. The potency of these drugs seems to alarming use of inhalants in teenagers seen rapidly increasing related to their solubility in water.

Inhaled concentration depends on the mode of administration. Sniffing offers the lowest concentration, while bagging the highest. Huffing these chemicals produces an inhaled concentration between that of sniffing and bagging. These agents have a high volume of distribution and several modes of elimination. With only a few important exceptions, elimination occurs primarily through the lungs. These exceptions include the alkyl nitrites, aromatics like benzeneand methylene chloride, which undergo significant hepatic metabolism.

In some instances, their metabolites can be toxic with examples including free nitrites and carbon monoxide. Use of inhalants can result in death. Bowen reported 39 deaths in Virginia between and from acute voluntary exposure to inhalants. Maxwell reported deaths in Texas between and in which use or abuse of inhalants was mentioned on the death certificates.