While the nation’s opioid addiction takes up the spotlight, there’s another deadly threat lurking in the shadows: air duster abuse.
Here’s the problem with inhalant abuse – most of these potentially lethal products are perfectly legal to possess and readily available in every household. Inhalants can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, and garages. There are thousands of everyday items which can be used as a source of abuse, including:
- Compressed air or duster
- Aerosol cooking spray or whipped cream
- Rubber Cement
The availability and innocuous nature of these products are just two of the reasons this trend is such a problem. Inhalants are also inexpensive, so there are few impediments to experimentation. Once considered to be a “teenage” problem, inhalant abuse has spread into all demographics.
A Dangerous High
Often referred to as “huffing,” inhalants provide a high similar to alcohol, and abuse involves sniffing the fumes from gasoline or compressed air from cans of air duster. It can kill users the first time or quickly turn into a dangerous habit.
The buzz from huffing wears off quickly, lasting only seconds to a few minutes. This quick dissipation encourages repeated use and usage for extended periods.
Inhalants starve the human body of oxygen. And since the body needs oxygen to live, huffing is extremely dangerous. Persistently breathing in these hazardous chemicals can cause permanent damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys. It can also cause fatal heart arrhythmias. With each breath, the user is putting their life in jeopardy.
Regina Whitsett, who works with the Chesterfield, VA SAFE program, notes, “If you huff or sniff a product, it can cause you to go unconscious, and then you can go into cardiac arrest and actually die from it.”
Hooked on Fumes
Since inhalants offer a cheap high, people sometimes turn to them if they can’t get other drugs and end up developing huffing addiction. For teens, on the other hand, it’s often a gateway to drug experimentation.
Why is This Addiction Hard to Treat?
All substance abuse issues pose treatment challenges, but air duster addiction is particularly hard to treat. It’s not uncommon for people to relapse as many as ten times while trying to break this deadly habit.
To say the overall intricacies can make a recovery from inhalant abuse “challenging” is an understatement. As huffing persists, proper treatment must be applied in air duster abuse help, which meets the unique needs of inhalant abusers and works to turn the tide on this dangerous trend.