December 7, 2010
Report on Inhalants
In their search for the nearest source of intoxicating substances, an alarming amount of young people are turning to the abuse of inhalants as their psychoactive drug of choice. Many inhalants come in the form of everyday chemicals found around the home; including glue, cleaning fluids, and whipped cream canisters. While a precise categorization of inhalants proves to be difficult, a common classification system defines four general categories of inhalants: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrates (NIDA, 2010, p. 1). Volatile solvents are vaporized liquids commonly found in abused products such as glue, gasoline, and paint thinners. Aerosols, while also a solvent chemical, comes in spray form such as spray paint or hairspray. The gases category includes both medical anesthetics, such as nitrous oxide or ether, as well as more commonly found gases such as those found within a butane lighter. The final category of inhalants is that of nitrates; where you can find mood altering inhalants such as amyl nitrates, or “poppers”, and also forms found in bottles of video head cleansers (NIDA, 2010, p. 2). Regardless of the substance used, all inhalants share the same route of administration through inhalation. Although many drugs can be inhaled, it is important to note that inhalants are rarely, if ever, administered any other way (NIDA, 2010, p. 1). Forms of inhalations include sniffing fumes from a container, spraying an aerosol directly into the nose, sniffing fumes from a paper bag, “huffing” from a fume soaked rag, and inhaling laughing gas through a balloon (NIDA, 2010, p. 3) Startling research shows that inhalant abuse reaches its peak amongst its users sometime between their seventh and ninth grade. Continuing studies show, however, that use has significantly decreased since its heyday in the mid1990s (NIDA, 2010, p. 2).
Chemicals that are inhaled are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which results in... [continues]
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