Most of us know at least a few teenagers. Now think about this - one in five U.S. teens have used inhalants. Statistics compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) uncovered this staggering number. One of those teenagers could be your child, your friend’s child or a neighbor.
Unfortunately, the use of inhalants among teens is so high because they’re easily accessible. Inhalants are products found around the house, including household cleaners, hair sprays, computer cleaners and canned whipped cream. Their original use isn’t illegal or dangerous for the most part. It’s when teens start inhaling, also known as “huffing” or “dusting,” that it becomes a problem. If your teenager needs help with addiction please call Legacy Freedom to learn more about our programs for drug and alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC.
One of the most popular inhalants is canned air, which is used as a computer cleaner. It’s also known as air duster. A brand name of one of these cleaners is Dust Off, which is how the term “dusting” was coined. Many teens think that canned air is harmless because the gas that comes out is invisible and odorless, but it contains a dangerous chemical called difluoroethane, which is a type of coolant used in refrigerators.
When someone inhales canned air, the chemical fills up the lungs and replaces the oxygen. In addition to taking oxygen out of the lungs, it depletes oxygen in the blood. That can cause a condition known as hypoxia, which can damage cells in the brain. Depending on the part of brain affected, it can cause memory loss, difficulty concentrating or worse.
Dusting gives the user a sense of euphoria and intoxication. The feeling doesn’t last long, so many people will do it repeatedly in order to keep getting that high. Each time someone inhales canned air, they’re risking damage to their organs, nervous system and brain. One of the scariest risks of dusting is Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. It causes heart failure and death. It can happen at any time, whether someone has huffed for the first time or has done it many times.
The website www.inhalant.org reports that one in four U.S. students have tried dusting by the time they've reached the eighth grade. Another alarming statistic is that over 2 .6 million kids aged 12-17 have used Air Duster to get high at least once in the previous year.
Parents need to talk to their kids about the dangers of huffing. Teens often see it as not as harmful as illegal drugs because the product can be found at home or in stores. The risks are real, the damage that is done by inhaling chemicals is usually irreversible and can be fatal.
If you suspect your teen is dusting, keep an eye on these products if they are kept in the house, and be on the lookout for these signs:
- Missing household cleaners
- Empty cans of canned air or other aerosols
- Smells or residue on your teen
- Dazed or confused looks
- Bloodshot eyes
- Complaints of numbness of mouth or extremities
- Noticeable weight loss
If you find that your teenager has been using inhalants, get professional help right away.
Dependable Drug and Alcohol Rehab In Wilmington NC | Legacy Freedom
Do you suspect your teen is abusing drugs or drinking? Call Legacy Freedom Treatment Center of Wilmington to speak with a counselor today. Our approach to recovery includes the family members of our patients because we know how important it is to have a support system when you’re struggling with something as traumatic as addiction. We offer outpatient therapy so patients don’t have to be taken away from family during treatment. Family members can actively participate in private and group therapy sessions in order to learn coping and support skills. Call us today to learn more about our programs for drug and alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC.