Ever seen a kid sniffing something from a pouch or a cloth on railway stations? Seen a school kid’s white ink getting over sooner than it has been bought? Office supplies ordered more than required especially cleaning fluids, glue etc? Most likely you are looking at an addiction to inhalants.
Inhalants are drugs that are rarely taken via any other route of administration though there are other illicit drugs that can be inhaled too. The term of usage is called “huffing.”
Products Abused as Inhalants
Volatile solvents — Cdegreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, and lighter fluid
Aerosols — Sprays that contain propellants and solvents
Gases — Found in household or commercial products and used as medical anesthetics
Nitrites — Used primarily as sexual enhancers
These products are not considered as drugs of abuse but have been found to be so more so in young children than older teens or adults.
Abusers of inhalants breathe them in through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways (known as “huffing”). They may sniff or snort fumes from a container or dispenser (such as a glue bottle or a marking pen or white ink), spray aerosols (such as computer cleaning dusters) directly into their nose or mouth, or place a chemical-soaked rag in their mouth. Abusers may also inhale fumes from a balloon or a plastic or paper bag. Although the high produced by inhalants usually lasts just a few minutes, abusers often try to prolong it by continuing to inhale repeatedly over several hours.
Repeated abuse of inahalnts are addictive.
Inhalant effects are similar to that of alcohol- slurred speech, lack of coordination, dizziness, euphoria, etc.. They can also experience hallucinations and delusions. They may feel the loss of control of self with light-headedness and a lingering headache
Breathing difficulties also occur with at times stoppage of breath. There can be abdominal discomfort, nausea, ulcers, vomiting, and vomiting of blood. Irregular heartbeats might occur. Nervous system damage happens in the form of affection of sensations, muscle power, and coordination, degeneration of brain function, and capacity. Liver functions are also affected.
Inhalant abuse and addiction in India are becoming more prevalent amongst urban street children, especially addiction to cobbler’s glue, petrol fumes, etc Even the well-heeled school children are getting addicted to white ink, glue, etc. I have seen children afflicted with tremors, incoordination, confusion with difficulty to function psychologically to their capacity, etc.
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