Inhalants Essay

1070 words - 4 pages

Inhalants can be defined as commercially produced chemicals that are inhaled into the body to produce psychoactive (mind-altering) and often adverse effects. Inhalants are aerosols, solvents, and cleaners. Examples include cleaning fluids, hair sprays, paints, cooking sprays, nail polish, and anesthetics such as halothane and nitrous oxide, which is often referred to as laughing gas. Also abused are amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite.Amyl nitrite is a clear, yellow liquid that is sold in a cloth-covered, sealed bulb. When the bulb is broken, it makes a snapping sound; thus, amyl nitrite is nicknamed "snappers" or "poppers". Amyl nitrite is medically used for heart patients because it dilates the blood vessels and makes the heart beat faster. It can, therefore, be classified as a stimulant.Butyl nitrite is packaged in small bottles and sold under many names such as "locker room" and "rush". It is also classified as a stimulant, and like amyl nitrite, it produces a "high" that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. The immediate effects include decreased blood pressure, followed by an increased heart rate, flushed face and neck, dizziness, and headache.Inhalant abuse is on the rise among young people, especially between the ages of 7 and 17. This is because inhalants are readily available and inexpensive. In fact, kids in the 7th grade are more likely to use inhalants than seniors in high school. Children can unintentionally misuse inhalant products that are often found around the house. Parents should see that these substances, like paints, medicines, and hairsprays, are kept away from young children.Inhalant abuse may result in losing touch with one's surroundings, a loss of self-control, violent behavior, unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, violent choking, and even death. This is a high risk of sudden death from spray inhalation. These sprays can interfere with breathing, or they can produce heartbeats (arrhythmia's) leading to heart failure and death by suffocation. The inhalants displace the oxygen in the lungs and depress the central nervous system so much that breathing slows down until it stops. Most of these deaths have been associated with the propellants used in aerosol sprays. Death from inhalants is usually caused by a very high concentration of inhalant fumes. Deliberately inhaling from a paper bag significantly increases the probability of suffocation. It is recommended that when using aerosol or volatile (vaporous) products for legitimate purposes, such as painting and cleaning, one should do so in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.Many people believe that inhalant abuse is not a serious concern. They believe that inhalant abuse is an "inner city problem" that will never hit their home. Inhalant abuse, however, is widely abused by kids no matter their location. This is because the products that can be sniffed to get high can be found in every household and every store. They are inexpensive and accessible, easy to conceal, legal,...

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