Inhalants! Or by its street term, huffing. Huffing is a fast growing problem among our youth and military members. They are using common chemicals that are found around our homes, schools, and places of work to achieve a very dangerous high. From the information you are about to hear, you will be able to better understand and become aware of what huffing abuse is, what the symptoms are, and what the consequences of abuse are. Inhalant abuse is extremely dangerous, as parents and military leaders we must educate ourselves to learn the warning signs.
First we need to understand what classifies an inhalant and then we can improve our understanding of what to watch for. The warning signs of inhalants could include constantly running out of a specific cleaning agent, always needing to fill the gas can for the lawn equipment, or never finding the canned whipped cream that was just bought. According to Teen Health (2010), inhalants are classified into four categories; volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites (used as sexual enhancers). Substances that fall under these categories are items such as paint thinners and felt-tip markers; spray paint and hairspray; canned whip cream (nitrous oxide) and refrigerant. According to Neuroscience for Kids (n.d), “nitrous oxide was discovered in 1776 by Sir Joseph Priestley and in 1799; Sir Humphrey Davy suggested that nitrous oxide could be used during surgery to reduce pain.” As you can see inhalants isn’t something new.
When I was young, I had a good friend that liked to do inhalants because they were readily available and they provide a quick and cheap high. The inhalant that he favored was gasoline and permanent markers; the method that he used to get “high” was huffing. When he was away from his home, he would put a couple permanent markers in a bag without the lids. This would allow for the bag to fill with toxic fumes and he would inhale the fumes. While he was at home, he would huff gas right out of the fuel tank of his four-wheeler. Besides huffing, there are a few different ways to get a high from inhalants; sniffing is achieved by breathing in the inhalant directly from the container; like a felt-tip marker; bagging is done by placing an inhalant in a bag, then covering the nose and mouth with the bag, and inhaling; spraying is the process of spraying the inhalant directly into the nose or mouth.
There are abundant irreversible side effects that will arise from doing inhalants. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2010) points out that, “inhalants not only damage the nervous system, but other organs such as lungs, liver, heart, and kidneys can be injured permanently.” Every time when my friend completed his huffing session, he experienced many different short term effects other than the euphoria he was chasing. Once his high wore off, he often felt nauseated, dizzy, slur his speech, and sometimes he had hallucinations. Since his high would only last a very short time, he was...