Marijuana seems to be in the headlines a lot lately and that’s understandable. It’s a drug that’s available – not to mention accepted – in many places and settings around the country.

I want to share with you in this entry to my blog about something else people are using to get high: inhalants. Products like glue, paint, lighter fluid, deodorants and permanent markers are used as inhalants. Many of these items are around your home, or stored in your closet and garage, but make no mistake – they can be used as drugs and using them in such a way can have deadly consequences.

There’s no fooling around when it comes to inhalants. A first-time user can suffer severe brain damage, respiratory problems or even death. In the short term, inhalant abuse can make you sick, forgetful and unable to see clearly. Long-term consequences include permanent brain damage, hearing loss, liver and kidney damage, increased heart rate, and arm or leg spasms. There is a potential for “Sudden Sniffing Death” for those who use inhalants, even first-time users.

How can I tell if someone I know is abusing inhalants?

  • unusual breath odor or chemical odor on clothing
  • slurred or slowed speech
  • paint or other products on face or fingers
  • red or runny eyes or nose
  • nausea and/or loss of appetite

Education is your best weapon. By knowing the facts and being aware of the dangers, you can educate others and deter teens from trying different inhalants. And remember, inhalants can be abused by young children — it is not a problem only affecting teens. Be sure to provide information and education to all age groups.