Inhalants are common products found right in the home and are among the most popular and deadly substances kids abuse. Inhalant abuse can result in death from the very first use.
Health Effects and Risks. Nearly all abused inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body’s functions. When inhaled in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxicating effects that can last only a few minutes or several hours if inhalants are taken repeatedly. Initially, users may feel slightly stimulated; with successive inhalations, they may feel less inhibited and less in control; finally, a user can lose consciousness.
Signs of Inhalant Abuse
Parents and healthcare workers can be aware of the following signs of an inhalant abuse problem:
- Chemical odors on breath or clothing;
- Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes;
- Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags or clothing;
- Drunk or disoriented appearance;
- Slurred speech;
- Nausea or loss of appetite;
- Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression;
- Missing household items.
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