Recovery Matters

Inhalants: The Household Agent of Death know as ‘huffing’

Inhalants: The Household Agent Of Death known as ‘huffing’

I remember being at a 13th birthday party of all places, and kids out back were inhaling something or other. I never got involved in what they were doing – although I was invited. It scared me. Kids throughout the world have been inhaling toxic fumes to experience a rush. For many, this is their first experience of a ‘high.’ Never mind weed – people seem to forget about just how readily available inhalants are. In the age of the internet it is easy for youngins’ to research how to get high, and the easiest and cheapest way to do so is with these toxic household chemicals. What they refer to as “huffing”.

There are many examples of inhalants, whippets seem to be the order of the day – even in the celebrity world. Demi Moore reportedly relapsed on Whippets and had to be rushed to an emergency room to be resuscitated. From 13 year old kids at a Bar mitzvah to Hollywood celebrities – inhalants are everywhere.

Examples of Inhalants
:

• Laughing Gas – Nitrous Oxide
• Snappers – Amyl Nitrite
• Poppers – Amyl Nitrite and Butyl Nitrite
• Whippets – Fluorinated Hydrocarbons
• Bold/Rush – Nitrites

The Facts

Found in households and offices across the globe, inhalants are legal products that are used to achieve a high. Because many inhalants are found in the home, people often don’t realise just how dangerous they are, if they are legal then how bad can they be?

By inhaling their fumes, even just once, the brain and body are severely affected and in some cases, a single huff can lead to death. The toxic chemicals found in these products have the ability to change the way the brain functions in its entirety.

Different inhalants cause different effects and can be divided into 4 general categories.

1. Volatile Solvents

These are liquids that become gas at room temperature.

They can be found in the following products:

• Paint thinner
• Nail polish remover
• Dry-cleaning fluid
• Degreaser
• Gasoline

The Effects:

• Decreased cognitive function
• Autoimmunity
• Reduced immune system
• Delayed childhood development
• Increased risk for some cancers
• Fertility problems

2. Aerosols

These are sprays that contain solvents and propellants.

They include:

• Spray paint
• Hair spray
• Deodorant spray
• Vegetable oil sprays
• Fabric protector spray

The Effects:

• Hallucination
• Vomiting
• Sneezing
• Slurred Speech
• Double Vision
• Muscle Ache
• Liver, Heart and Kidney Damage
• Suffocation
• Heart Failure
• Depression

3. Gases

Gases include both household and commercial products. They are used in the medical field to provide pain relief.

They are found in:

• Butane lighters
• Propane tanks
• Whipped cream dispensers
• Refrigerated gases
• Chloroform
• Halothane
• Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

The Effects:

• Hearing loss
• Liver and kidney damage
• Bone marrow damage
• Loss of coordination
• Limb spasms
• Brain damage
• Death (known as sudden sniffing death)

4. Nitrites

These are a class of inhalants that are used to enhance sexual experiences.

Organic nitrite includes:

• Amyl
• Butyl
• Cyclohexyl

Nitrites can be found in small bottles labelled [‘video head cleaner,’ ‘room odouriser’ or ‘liquid aroma.’

The Effects:

• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Incontinence
• Cold sweat
• Vomiting
• Hypotension

Check your products before you bring them into your home. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If you suspect that someone in your home is abusing inhalants – seek professional advice immediately.

Call Houghton House today 011 787 9142

or

24/7 Emergency Helpline 079 770 7532

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